Storms are phenomena that are natural and are known to generate mixed emotions. Some love storms and others suffer from Astraphobia. Astraphobia it is an abnormal fear of thunder and lightning, this phobia affects both humans and some animals. The word astraphobia is derived from Greek words astrape which means lightning and phovos which stands for fear. Also in Sanskrit, "astra" stands or has the same meaning as the weapon, which refers to the mythological demi god Indra who is well known to uses lightning to be his weapon to show fear to all those who dwell in the earth.
People who have astraphobia, when there is a storm will show symptoms that are almost similar to other phobias, this will include; crying, sweating, shaking and even panic attacks. But there are some symptoms that are only associated with this astraphobia this include; seeking reassurance from people around them, it may be worse if one is alone in the room. People who have this problem when there is a storm will seek extra shelters such as hide in a closet; go to the basement of the house to hide. The people will also make attempt to lessen the noise from the storm by use on nice reducing means. In some extreme cases people with astraphobia have developed to even get agoraphobia which is the fear of being out of the home area (Laveist, 92).
Astraphobia is more known to be common with children but some of these fears maybe normal and should be considered as a phobia if it persists for more than six months. If it is a phobia it should be treated immediately or if untreated when young it will lead to an astraphobia that would be difficult to treat.
Dogs and cats are known to suffer from astraphobia, between 15 and 30% of dogs are known to show some severe anxiety when there are thunderstorms. Research on dogs who suffer from astraphobia has shown that cortisol, which is a hormone that causes stress, is higher in the dogs that suffer from astraphobia, during storms. Also cats are known to suffer from astraphobia when there are thunderstorms, this is not common but such cut try to hide when there is a thunderstorm (Taber, 75).
Astraphobia can be treated for adults, children and even animals. In treating astraphobia there is application of the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. This may involve visualization exercises to calm ones fears when there are storms. Also soothing messages when there is a storm is necessary for adults. In children distracting a child by either music or play is necessary to the child. Also talking positively and saying how a storm cannot hurt is important to help the child to build self confidence. In animals anti anxiety medications may be important to such animals and also counter conditioning technique might help in treatment of animals suffering from astraphobia.
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It is impossible to live in a world without storms. Astraphobia like most phobia are distressing to the individual who experiences them and can lead to dangerous behavior. If allowed over for long without seeking medical attention they may become severe. Therefore individuals who suffer from fears should seek professional help.