Astraphobia (Fear of Thunder and Lightning)
Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning. It typically affects children, but many adults still deal with a fear of thunderstorms. Its is one of the most common specific phobias. Treatment such as talk therapy or medication can help you manage anxiety symptoms and live a higher quality of life.
What is astraphobia?
- Astraphobia is extreme fear of thunder and lightning. It can affect people of all ages, though it may be more common in children than adults. It is also seen in animals.
- Many children who have this fear will eventually outgrow it. But others will continue to experience the phobia into adulthood. Astraphobia can also manifest in adults who didn’t have it as children.
- Being caught in a thunderstorm or preparing for extreme weather conditions can create reasonable levels of anxiety or fear. In people with astraphobia, thunderstorms cause an extreme reaction that can be debilitating. For people with this phobia, these feelings may be overwhelming and feel insurmountable.
- Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning. Storms are natural phenomena that inspire strong emotions in both humans and animals, including fear. At times, this fear may represent astraphobia. It tends to be more common in children, but it is also not uncommon for adults to have this fear.
- Astraphobia is not a recognized mental health condition but is considered a specific phobia. Specific phobias involve an extreme fear of a particular object or situation. And are one of the most common types of mental disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates. That 9.1% of adults in the U.S. experience a specific phobia each year.
Astraphobia is also called:
Is astraphobia an anxiety disorder?
Astraphobia is a treatable anxiety disorder. Like many other phobias, it is not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a specific psychiatric diagnosis.
The phobia is extremely common. It is especially common in young children, but adults and teenagers can also have this fear as well.
How do you stay calm during a thunderstorm?
Include activities like markers, puzzles, battery-operated electronic games, and packaged snacks. Make sure to include flashlights for everyone in the box in case the power goes out. Darkness can make everything seem scarier. Kids love to play with flashlights, and often, they will feel safer having one at hand.
What is astraphobia?
- Astraphobia is an intense fear of thunder and lightning. The phobia is more common in children, but it can last into adulthood. Astraphobia often also affects animals.
- People with astraphobia feel extreme anxiety or debilitating fear when preparing for a thunderstorm. They may watch weather reports obsessively or have panic attacks (rushes of anxiety that cause intense physical symptoms) during a storm. Another name for astraphobia is brontophobia.
What is a specific phobia?
A phobia is defined as an intense fear of something that is unlikely to cause you or others harm, such as certain objects or situations.
Numerous phobias exist. Some of the more common ones often include fears related to:
- specific animals
- situations like flying or driving
- medical issues related to blood or injuries
- If you have a specific phobia, you may go to great lengths to avoid. Whatever you fear, which can add additional stress and anxiety. Over time, phobias can cause significant anxiety for many individuals. Especially if avoiding the cause of those fears is difficult, like with astraphobia.
- However, most phobias are manageable. And while you might be able to sometimes calm yourself. It can help to seek professional help from a doctor or therapist if your fears come along with symptoms of anxiety.
- A mental health professional can help you identify. Potential causes, triggers, and ways to manage your phobia.
How do you sleep in a thunderstorm?
If you find an intense thunderstorm disrupts your sleep, you can make some modifications to get a good night’s rest. Begin by blocking out the bright light. If you have blinds or room darkening curtains, close them. If the thunder is too loud, you can close your window and put in earplugs.
Why are thunderstorms so loud?
Why is thunder so loud? It is because the amount of electrical energy that flows from the cloud to the ground is so enormous. It is like a very big waterfall of electricity. The louder the sound that you hear, the closer you are to the lightning. Light travels through air much faster than sound.
Where in the world gets no thunderstorms?
This planet’s only thunderstorm-free locations would be areas close to both poles. The interior of the Arctic Ocean and the interior of Antarctica.
Is astraphobia rare?
How common is astraphobia? Astraphobia is one of the most common specific phobias. Over a 12-month period, about 8% of adults deal with a specific phobia.
Can you use the toilet during a thunderstorm?
Lightning can travel through plumbing. It is best to avoid all water during a thunderstorm. Do not shower, bathe, wash dishes, or wash your hands. The risk of lightning travelling through plumbing might be less with plastic pipes than with metal pipes.
Which dog breeds are afraid of thunder?
The dog breeds scared of loud noises:
- Cairn Terrier
- Mixed Breed
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Rough Collie
Should you turn off your TV during a thunderstorm?
Take off head sets. Turn off, unplug, and stay away from appliances. Computers, power tools, & TV sets. Lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment.
Who might get astraphobia?
Children are more likely to have astraphobia. Those with sensory processing disorders or autism spectrum disorder are likelier to fear storms, too.
You are also more likely to have astraphobia if you have:
- Family history of depression, anxiety or phobias
- Family members with astraphobia
- Past experience of weather-related trauma, such as living through a major natural disaster
How common is astraphobia?
Astraphobia is one of the most common specific phobias. Over a 12-month period, about 8% of adults deal with a specific phobia. Specific phobias are around two times more common in women than men.
What causes astraphobia?
Experts don’t know exactly what causes astraphobia. For some people, a traumatic childhood event during a storm can lead to astraphobia.
You are also more likely to develop astraphobia if a parent or sibling has the condition. Sometimes, people develop astraphobia for no known reason.
What are the risk factors for astraphobia?
- Some people may be at increased risk for this phobia. Simply being a child can be a risk factor. Storms can be especially scary for kids, but most grow out of these feelings as they age.
- Some children with autism and sensory processing disorders, such as auditory processing disorder. May have a harder time controlling their emotions during a storm because they have heightened sensitivity to sound.
- In “Dancing in the Rain: Stories of Exceptional Progress by Parents of Children with Special Needs,” author Annabel Stehli. Compares the sound of raindrops to bullets as an example of how children with sensory integration disorder experience rain. Anxiety is also common among kids with autism. This may exacerbate discomfort, both before or during a storm.
- Anxiety disorders often run in families, and sometimes have a genetic link. Individuals with a family history of anxiety, depression, or phobias may be at greater risk for astraphobia.
- Experiencing weather-related trauma can also be a risk factor. For example, someone who has had a traumatic or negative experience. Caused by severe weather may acquire a phobia to storms.
What are the symptoms of astraphobia?
Like other phobias, the main symptom of astraphobia is overwhelming fear. Many people are aware that the fear they feel is not proportional to a storm’s actual threat. But it can be difficult to manage symptoms.
The anxiety you might experience with astraphobia can cause physical symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or fainting (syncope)
- Heart racing or heart palpitations
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Tremors (uncontrollable shaking)
- In people without this phobia, news of an impending storm may lead you to cancel or relocate outdoor plans. Or if you find yourself in a lightning storm, you may seek shelter or move away from tall trees. Even though the chances of getting hit by lightning are slim.
- These actions represent an appropriate response to a potentially dangerous situation.
A person with astraphobia will have a reaction that goes beyond these seemingly appropriate acts. They may have feelings of panic, both before and during a storm.
Other symptoms of astraphobia may include:
- sweaty palms
- racing pulse
- obsessive desire to monitor the storm
- the need to hide away from the storm, such as in a closet, bathroom, or under the bed
- clinging to others for protection
- uncontrollable crying, particularly in children
The person may also understand that these feelings are overblown and irrational without the ability to curtail them.
- These symptoms can be triggered by a weather report. Conversation, or sudden sound, such as a clap of thunder. Sights and sounds that are similar to thunder and lightning may also trigger symptoms.
- Many people with astraphobia seek shelter beyond normal protection from the storm. For example, they may hide under the covers or even under the bed. They may go to the basement, an inside room (such as a bathroom), or even a closet. They may close the curtains and attempt to block out the sounds of the storm.
- Another fairly common symptom is an obsession with weather forecasts. People with astraphobia may find themselves. Glued to the Weather Channel during the rainy season or spend a great deal of time tracking storms online.
- Astraphobia can cause significant distress and make it difficult to function in daily life. Sometimes people develop an inability to go about activities. Outside their home without first checking the weather reports. In extreme cases, astraphobia can eventually lead to people being afraid to leave their homes.
- Without appropriate treatment, the fear of lightning and thunderstorms. Can contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety or depression. It can also have a negative effect on health and relationships and may lead. To social isolation or cause people to misuse substances to cope with their extreme fear.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is astraphobia diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may ask you questions to determine if you have astraphobia. Sometimes, anxiety symptoms relate to another mental health diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider might ask if you have experienced:
- Anxiety lasting six months or longer
- Avoidance of thunder and lightning, even in movies or pictures
- Extreme fear or panic when you see lightning or thunder
- Immediate dread or distress when you know a thunderstorm is in the weather forecast
- Panic that interferes with your life, even when you know you are safe
Management and treatment
How is astraphobia treated?
Astraphobia treatment is often similar to treatment approaches for other phobias. Your healthcare provider might try:
- Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy helps you gradually become more comfortable around whatever causes fear. For example, under the direction of your healthcare provider, you might listen to recordings. Of thunder or look at pictures of thunderstorms. Eventually, you practice staying calm during a real-life storm. Exposure therapy is highly effective for most people who complete it.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Sometimes called talk therapy, CBT can be done one-on-one or in a support group setting. The goal of CBT is to help you identify. Unhelpful thoughts and replace them with helpful ones.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
This technique pairs talk therapy with stress reduction tools such as meditation. It may help you reduce anxiety so you can process your emotions better.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help you manage symptoms. And prevent panic attacks when a storm is in the forecast.
Stress management techniques
You might learn coping strategies that help you lessen anxiety symptoms. For example, you might do aerobic exercise, such as jumping jacks. When you start feeling panicked. Or you might learn breathing techniques that help you calm down. After a storm, it may help to take a short walk outside to reassure yourself that everything is OK.
In addition to other treatment options, your therapist may also recommend learning stress-management strategies to help reduce symptoms. These may include:
- breathing techniques
- physical exercise
- spending time outside in nature
- practicing affirmations to calm and reassure yourself that you are safe
Find supportive friends or family
It can be helpful to share your feelings with others. Try to talk about what’s going on to people who won’t judge or shame you for your anxiety.
- Embrace a healthy mantra
It is helpful to ground yourself with a positive affirmation. Consider something like, you will be safe, or you know that this will pass soon.
- Distract yourself
Consider healthy distractions you can use when you find yourself feeling anxious. Make a list of easy activities (coloring, listening to music, taking a shower, eating something you enjoy) that you can look at if you need a quick reference.
- Limit excessive checking
If you keep checking the weather reports, commit to setting a hard boundary with yourself (like only checking once in the morning). Doing so can eliminate ongoing moments of anxiety throughout your day.
- Designate a grounding item/location
Grounding techniques like this can help when a storm strikes. Choose an item or area in your home that you associate with safety. When you find yourself feeling anxious, hold onto that object (or stay in that place) while reminding yourself that you are safe.
- Be patient
Overcoming phobias isn’t an overnight job. Recognize small successes as you make them, and be mindful of areas where you can still make progress.
How can you help a child who has astraphobia?
Weather-related anxiety is common in children. If you have a child who is afraid of thunderstorms, you can help them by:
- Explaining that thunder can’t hurt them
- Learning more about storms
- Talking about storms as a natural part of life, bringing rain that nourishes plants and flowers
- Providing a safe, comforting place for them to go during storms, particularly if they have special sensory needs
- If your child has extreme distress over storms, talking about the storm at home might not be enough to reduce stress
- If the anxiety doesn’t lessen, seek help from a mental health professional
Astraphobia in Children
Astraphobia is extremely common in children. In many cases, these fears are not necessarily signs of a phobia. To soothe a child’s fear of thunder and lightning, you can:
- Remain calm. If caregivers are scared of storms, a child will pick up on the adult’s nervousness
- Use a combination of reassurance, distraction, and relaxation techniques to help the child cope.
- Plan a rainy day routine, such as popcorn and movies or board games, to keep the child distracted and give them something to look forward to.
- Of course, if the fear is severe and inconsolable, or if it lasts longer than six months, it is important to seek treatment. Over time, a child’s fear of storms could become a full-blown, difficult-to-treat phobia in adulthood.
What are the most important facts to know about astraphobia?
Astraphobia is a type of specific phobia where the individual has an irrational fear of thunder and lightning. To the point where the fear interferes with daily functioning and activities. It is a common phobia in children. And can be seen in those who have experienced a negative or traumatic event associated with storms.
- Individuals with astraphobia tend to check the weather report frequently and seek shelter. When there are any signs of bad weather. Diagnosis follows that of other specific phobias and is made. By a licensed mental health professional following the DSM-V criteria.
- In order for diagnosis, the fear must cause significant distress in daily living. And must be persistent, usually lasting 6 months or longer.
- Treatment for astraphobia includes consoling children and offering. Cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy to adults. Clinicians may also choose to prescribe medications such as SSRIs to help manage the symptoms of astraphobia.
Outlook / Prognosis
Are there long-term effects from Astraphobia?
With treatment, many people manage astraphobia symptoms. Without treatment, astraphobia symptoms may interfere. With your health or relationships. Untreated astraphobia can increase your risk of:
- Anxiety, depression or other mood disorders
- Social isolation
- Substance use disorders, such as alcoholism or drug addiction
What else should you ask your doctor?
You might want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the most likely cause of astraphobia?
- Do I have an underlying mental health condition that needs treatment?
- What are the astraphobia treatment options?
- What are my chances of overcoming astraphobia?
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)
How can you get over a fear of thunderstorms?
With treatment, you might overcome your fear of thunderstorms. Or you might manage astraphobia symptoms long term. The best way to get over an extreme fear of thunderstorms is to seek help from a medical professional.
Astraphobia is the extreme fear of thunder and lightning. It is most common in children. Many people outgrow the fear of thunderstorms as they get older. But astraphobia is still among the most common specific phobias. Treatment for astraphobia might include exposure therapy, talk therapy or medication. You might also learn stress reduction techniques to manage anxiety symptoms.
- Astraphobia is a specific fear of storms, thunder, or lightning. That might cause some people to experience intense fear, worry, or even panic attacks.
- This is a real condition, and it may be one of the most common phobias people experience.
- While it is more common for kids to develop astraphobia, it can last into adulthood for some people. Astraphobia is frequently associated with family patterns and intergenerational trauma. As well as living through a traumatic experience yourself, such as surviving a natural disaster.
- Like other phobias, astraphobia is a manageable condition. If you are experiencing symptoms, getting in touch with a doctor or therapist. Is often the best first step in diagnosis and treatment.
- A doctor or therapist can work with you to find an effective treatment plan to reduce your symptoms. And improve your overall quality of life. Treatment for specific phobias like astraphobia often includes a combination of:
- Coping strategies
- Anti-anxiety medications, in some cases
- Even if overcoming your fear of thunder and lightning seems impossible now, there is hope when it comes to managing your symptoms and feeling better in the long term.