Learn More About Natural Disaster-Related Phobias and How To Get Help

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.

types of natural disaster-related phobia

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.

natural-disaster

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.

Conclusion

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.

5 Ways on How To Prepare Your Business For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, and floods come with a lot of collateral damage which affects homes and infrastructure. They also affect our businesses, which are sources of livelihood for many.

Imagine building your enterprise from the ground up, only for it to be dissipated in hours or seconds by the freaks of nature! So how can you prepare your business to weather the storm in the face of a sudden natural disaster? Here’s my ‘Hitchhiker’s guide’ to business disaster preparedness.

natural-disaster

1. Safety Protocols

All lives matter, human resource is the backbone of any business. So having Standard Operating-Procedures(S0Ps) for disaster preparedness can mitigate any occupational risks during such times.

Simulating disaster drills can also go a long way in disaster preparedness if employees know emergency exits and evacuation protocols. Keeping a well-equipped disaster kit is commended too, and it should come complete with survival supplies for at least 3 days.

2. Data Backup

Yes backups are quite the norm now. But having a ‘backup’ of your backup is advisable. Having an extra digital location where your most sensitive documents, emails as well as digital records and databases are stored.

This can allow you to switch to a ‘virtual business’ till the dust settles and enable you to work and deliver remotely. It gives your business a much needed lifeline as virtual records can help in the rebuilding process a lot. Be sure that your backups are done frequently and can be automated.

3. Insurance Cover

Get yourself flood insurance if your geographic code is prone to weather disasters. The average flood insurance policy costs about $800 and most Insurance companies now offer business interruption policies, property as well as disaster packages at good premiums.

Statistics show that 2 in 5 businesses open after natural disaster. So, to help alleviate the hustles of reopening, insurance could come in handy. I’d advise you take time to meet your insurance agent to ponder over business insurance covers.

4. Infrastructure Precautions

Considering the barrage of destruction Hurricane Harvey brought on the Texas Gulf-Coast causing property damage of up to $80bn, certain measures and precautions can’t be ignored. This is especially so when it comes to the resilience and structural safety of your work premise. Be sure to do a structural audit on your location and assess any possibilities of vulnerability.

Do take time to verify that your business location meets specified building codes. Also surely endeavor to test and service the premise emergency generator under load. If weather disaster strikes, do make an effort to use protective material such as plywood to seal off windows. You can also secure first floor doorways with sandbags while relocating your most sensitive office equipment to innermost portions of the building.

5. Emergency Savings

An Indian friend told me once “In India we save for a rainy day, because it basically rains every day”. That could explain why many Asians are good at saving because they understand that nature can’t be negotiated with.

As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable for businesses to save 20% of their profit per month into an ‘Emergency Trust’. On top of the insurance monies or low interest loans from the Office of Disaster-Assistance, this money can reduce the burden of loss of assets on your business.

We saw the adverse effects of Hurricane Katrina on employment and the New Orleans economy, they can still be felt 13 years later. Bad news never has good timing and at times one can never be too prepared. However, if you take the above precautions chances of salvaging your business are way better.

Top 5 Positive Environmental Effects of COVID-19

Even the gravest of occurrences have some silver linings, and COVID-19, in all of its dreariness, has been pretty good to Mother Earth. There have been some negative drawbacks, but on the whole, the environment is one thing that has actually been positively affected by the novel coronavirus. Stay-at-home orders mean less cars on the road, and social distancing means less people at national parks and beaches in need of a good cleaning. A study now published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal went as far as to say, “In China alone, all of these air quality improvements that have outnumbered confirmed [COVID-19-related] deaths thus far.”

covid19-clean-cities

Here is a closer look at 5 positive environmental impacts caused by COVID-19.

1. Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure

With many citizens greatly limiting their travel, cities and states alike have been upgrading their transportation systems (trains, cars, planes, etc.). At a quick glance, a reasonable response to that would be, “Nice, better roads,” but fortunately, with advances in infrastructure resilient to climate change, it also means structures made with environmentally friendly materials, reduced waste, and made renewable-resource-ready, depending on the locale.

Some jurisdictions with a bit less of a “convinced” mindset towards climate change do, however, have a lot of legal loopholes in place regarding renewable energy, but at least making structures ready to switch power when the law allows is something to breath easy about (literally).

2. Lowered Emissions

As touched on in the intro, limited travel and social distancing have been large parts of increased air quality across the globe. Even NASA satellites have produced photographic evidence of less smog in urban areas.

As many large businesses in these large cities are becoming aware of the positive effects (both socially and monetarily) of corporate social responsibility, it’s also reasonable to think that many corporations will take into account all of the positives that come with remote work, and maximize opportunities do so in a world where going green is as good for the trees as it is the bottom line.

3. Moral Awareness / Disaster Relief

Most natural disasters affect those who can actually see the destruction first-hand much more deeply than people who just see pictures and videos. With a truly global pandemic affecting everyone on Earth, the overall will to “help a neighbor” has been tried and true during the COVID-19 wave. Some places just had much better disaster preparedness practices than others, and where there were shortages in one area, and excess in another, the right moves were made.

Only time will tell if optimism turns to reality, but thinking that the global reach of this disaster and the “all in this together” mantra will lead to more disaster relief for issues some people may not be familiar with (hurricanes, tornados, famine, earthquakes, etc.) is definitely beyond reasonable.

4. Clean Beaches

Over the last 10 years, roughly 60 million Americans visit a beach per year. Couple that with coastal population booms, and it’s safe to say the sand in the United States gets a lot of foot traffic. Though the lack of tourism certainly hurt the economy, it gave the beaches a long overdue break, resulting in massive decreases in coastal pollution, deep beach cleans by locals, and increases in water quality.

beach-covid19

5. A Little Bad with the Good

With closures of schools and a lot of work places, brought with it closures of some recycling centers, resulting in a lot of recyclables being trashed. The increases in online deliveries are certainly sensible, but they, too, added to an uptick in waste production, due to packaging. Additionally, medical waste (including masks and gloves) experienced a steady uptick as well.

Ultimately, the environmental effects of COVID-19 are things we can take a bit of resolve in, as pretty much everything else has been affected negatively by the pandemic. Increases in air and water quality should continue to be steady, new infrastructure with renewable resources now exist and just need some legislative boosts in areas, a lot of public places that needed a good cleaning have gotten it, and the only negatives on this list involve human actions that can be adjusted, moving forward.