This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Phobias are specific mental health conditions that are caused by a fear of something (or multiple things) that can be compulsive, obsessive, and terrifying for the person experiencing them. Some of the most common phobias that exist are phobias of natural disasters.
Natural disasters are becoming increasingly more common, prompting people such as business owners to start taking measures to prevent their effects. However, for some, the fear of natural disasters and the toll they take can be so intense that it starts to impact their lives and make them afraid to leave home.
If you’re struggling with a natural disaster-related phobia, know that you’re not alone. These phobias are common, especially if you’ve experienced a trauma related to a natural disaster of any type. Read on to learn more about these phobias, as well as some ways to get help.
Lilapsophobia- The Fear of Tornadoes and/or Hurricanes
One of the most common natural disaster phobias is lilapsophobia, which is characterized by an intense fear of tornadoes and/or hurricanes. People who have this phobia may experience the following:
- Having panic attacks at the mention of high winds
- Watching the weather channel compulsively
- Stocking up on supplies and setting up a “storm basement”
- Feeling anxious often
- An impending sense of doom or feeling that a tornado or hurricane will arrive at any moment
- Fears of dying or being hurt
- Fear of leaving home
This phobia is common in those who have survived a hurricane or tornado, especially if it wreaked havoc. However, it can also occur in someone who has never experienced one. A phobia like this does become a problem when it starts to impact your life and causes you to be afraid to leave home.
Tsunamiphobia- The Fear of Tsunamis
Another common phobia is tsunamiphobia, which is the fear of tsunamis. Tsunamis are large waves/surges of water from the ocean that happen due to seismic activity and storms. Tsunamis are quite rare, but they can wipe out small towns and are very scary for many people.
Someone with this phobia will likely avoid visiting any city that is near the ocean and may have panic attacks when visiting the beach. They could have nightmares about tsunamis or feel afraid when talking about them or hearing about them.
Seismophobia- The Fear of Earthquakes
Seismophobia is another related phobia, which is the fear of earthquakes. Earthquakes are more common than tsunamis, and in some areas, they happen often. For example, in Japan and New Zealand, earthquake drills are common in schools, and many small earthquakes happen throughout the year.
Earthquakes can feel terrifying when they’re happening, and some people develop trauma from them, especially if they cause destruction. Those with this phobia will often avoid areas where earthquakes are common, may constantly check seismic activity, and may also have a fear of a volcanic eruption.
Astraphobia- The Fear of Storms
For those who are simply afraid of bad storms in general, the phobia is called astraphobia. Those with this phobia may have panic attacks when small storms hit or when it starts to rain. They may fear leaving the home and may have a safe place where they go when there is thunder or lightning. This phobia is one of the most common on the list.
Chionophobia- The Fear of Snow/Snowstorms
Chionophobia is the fear of snow and snowstorms. Snow can cause difficulties with vision, falls, and other distressing experiences. It is also extremely cold. Everyone with this phobia experiences different fears related to it but will likely avoid areas where it snows. If they do live in a snowy town or country, they’ll likely stay inside or refuse to leave home if there is snow on the ground. They may experience panic or anxiety when there are snowstorms or blizzards.
How to Get Help for a Natural Disaster-Related Phobia
If you have any of the phobias above or another weather-related phobia, there is help available. You are not alone! Many people feel shame for their phobias, especially if someone in their life has told them that it’s “strange.”
However, it’s important to remember that no phobia is strange, and humans everywhere have many different types of fears. We develop fears as a natural response to trauma and our environments, and you can find a phobia for anything.
For this reason, lots of help is available. You can find online and offline counselors who are experts in phobias, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive traits. If you’re finding that your phobia impacts your life negatively in several areas and makes it hard to function, it’s time to get help.
Some of the common therapies for phobias include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (traditional talk therapy)
- Exposure therapy (for compulsive behaviors and obsessive fears)
- Trauma therapy and EMDR (for phobias related to trauma)
Ways to Protect Yourself From a Natural Disaster
If you’re worried about a natural disaster, know that there are ways to protect yourself from harm. Remember, seeking reassurance and compulsively planning for a potential disaster are signs of a phobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, so it’s important to get advice from your counselor or doctor if you are partaking in these activities often.
- Having a stash of food and first aid supplies
- Living in an area where natural disasters are rare
- Setting up a storm shelter or basement area where you can go if needed
- Identifying the tsunami-safe zones in your city
- Identifying where to go if there’s a fire in your town
Remember, planning is good, but it can’t stop an event from happening. That’s why therapy is the only way to cure a phobia and get help.
If you want to learn more about phobias and get inspiration on how to get help, check out BetterHelp’s blog today. They’ve got some great information on what phobias are and how they’re treated at this link.
Natural disasters are unfortunately a part of our world, but they don’t have to become your whole world. You’re not alone in your fear, and help is available today.