Pluviophobia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Have you ever heard of pluviophobia? People who suffer from this condition have an intense fear of anything related to rain.
Anyone who suffers from a phobia knows that being exposed to what they’re afraid of is an awful experience. Consequently, they prefer to avoid it at any cost. Some phobic stimuli are fairly easy to avoid and only affect an individual every once in a while. Others, however, are very common, as is the case with pluviophobia. Today, we’ll explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment of pluviophobia.
Pluviophobia is an intense fear of anything related to rain, such as storms, lightning, and thunder. Thus, pluviophobia can be fairly debilitating because the feared stimuli is common and frequent.
Another name for this condition is ombrophobia. It can affect an individual throughout their entire life, although it often manifests during youth.
“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”
When an individual suffers from a phobia, their nervous system responds as if it were being exposed to a serious threat. Depending on the severity of the phobia, they might experience something similar to what our ancestors felt when they were being chased by an animal or what you would feel if you were about to be hit by a train. Thus, phobias produce intense anxiety that can quickly turn into a panic attack.
The most common symptoms are hyperventilation, gastrointestinal problems, and tachycardia. Pressure in the chest and head, dizziness, headaches, and trouble breathing are also common symptoms. This is obviously an extremely unpleasant experience, which is why people go to great lengths to avoid their triggers.
Sometimes, a phobia starts out as a mild fear, which evolves to the point that you feel like you’re in mortal danger. In the case of pluviophobia, your anxiety levels also depend on the seriousness of the meteorological event. In other words, a light rain shower won’t have the same effect as a heavy storm.
The causes of pluviophobia
Pluviophobia could affect anyone. Thus, no specific condition predisposes a person to suffer from this kind of psychological condition.
Psychologist Arturo Bados explains that pluviophobia is usually triggered by a negative experience related to torrential rains and severe storms. Flooding, lightning, and other intense weather events can also be phobic stimuli.
In these cases, the individual feels very vulnerable when they have to face these natural forces. They learn to associate rain with a lack of control and fear. This association comes into play any time the individual anticipates or experiences the phobic stimulus.
Treatment for pluviophobia
If you suffer from pluviophobia, the first step you need to take is to go see a specialist, who’ll evaluate the severity of your phobia. In addition, they’ll identify your triggers and the symptoms and reactions they provoke. That way, they can figure out what’s the best intervention for your particular case.
Usually, therapists use exposure and response prevention therapy to treat pluviophobia. This kind of therapy consists of exposing the individual in a fictitious way to the stimuli that trigger their phobia. At first, the exposure only lasts brief periods of time. Then, as the therapy progresses, the therapist increases the amount of time the patient’s exposed to the stimuli. The idea is to continually expose the patient to their fear without allowing them to avoid it the way they usually do. By repeatedly facing their fears, the patients force their brains to realize how irrational the phobia is.
In conclusion, pluviophobia tends to affect people more than other phobias because it’s impossible to completely avoid the weather. Consequently, the more quickly a person who suffers from this phobia seeks treatment, the better.