Natural disasters are not the best experiences. Unless you are a storm chaser, there is little or no possibility that you will look forward to natural disasters of any kind. This explains why some people may have lilapsophobia.
If you are wondering what lilapsophobia is, it is the fear of hurricanes and tornadoes, and it can be seen as a more severe variation of astraphobia, also known as the fear of lightning and thunder.
If you are one of those who have lilapsophobia, it is nothing like the average summer storm that you are afraid of, but the possibility of such storm getting severe. This phobia is a relatively common one, although it is rarer than astraphobia.
Possible causes of lilapsophobia
Like many other phobias, the fear of hurricanes and tornadoes is often traced to a past negative experience.
Perhaps a person with lilasophobia has once been affected by severe weather conditions that caused property damage or personal injury to you or someone dear to you.
Or such a person may have been spared by a hurricane or tornado that wreaked havoc in your environment, possibly throwing in a bit of survivor guilt.
If you have had to experience a genuinely devastating storm like Hurricane Katrina, it is specifically essential that you seek professional advice. Asides dealing with a phobia like lilapsophobia, it is quite possible that you are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lilapsophobia, just like many phobias, can possibly be learned. If you have friends, parents, or relatives who are afraid of hurricanes and tornadoes, you may have unknowingly picked up their fear.
Symptoms of Lilapsophobia
While it is quite normal and rational to look out for weather forecasts before any outdoor activities, many people who suffer from lilapsophobia discover that the weather now controls their lives and everything that relates to them.
If you have lilasophobia, you may spend a great deal of time tracking the weather online or watching the weather Channel. You may not feel like going out on days when a possible storm is predicted.
Whenever a storm hits, you may find yourself displaying unusual behaviors. Repeatedly looking out for weather alerts, hiding in the closet or under the bed, and going as far as putting a whole tornado plan into effect immediately, the rain starts are all common among people with this fear.
You might find yourself listening carefully to the storm for sounds that may depict tornado activity, or you might have plans to drown out the storm entirely with movies or loud music.
Many people have found out that lilapsophobia gets worse by being alone. You might need to call friends in a panic or begin to arrange your schedule in such a way that you are hardly ever alone.
Some people who have this phobia feel that going to the movies, a mall, or a library can help stay sane and control their panic. Over time, you may discover that your daily activities gradually shrink and become more and more restricted.
Also, you might become resistant and unwilling to go into buildings that you think are not “safe,” even on a bright, sunny day. You may refuse to take part in any outdoor activities or go on long road trips out of fear that there might be a storm.
The appearance of Lilapsophobia in Children
Many children may go through a phase of astraphobia or an intense fear of storms. However, lilapsophobia is not one phobia that is as common in children as they are in adults, but they may undoubtedly appear.
Young children who are learning to draw the line between fantasy and reality may be especially susceptible to such fears that are caused by adult conversations and media images.
If there is any major storm that has been profiled on TV or is being discussed by grownups, kids may turn out to be scared that such may happen to them.
Because fears are known to be a regular part of child development, phobias are usually not diagnosed in kids unless they persist for longer than half a year (six months).
Try to reassure your kids about how relatively rare significant storms are, and also explain your planned storm readiness procedures to your child.
Of course, it is essential to tell your child’s doctor if the phobia is a severe or persistent one, as it may be necessary to get a therapist referral.
Appearance in Popular Culture
Hollywood movies such as the 1996 Twister has addressed the effects of lilapsophobia. In that movie, Dr. Jo Harding, a role played by Helen Hunt, saw her father die in a tornado.
As an adult, she began to fight the resulting lilapsophobia by turning out to be a storm chaser. The movie features highly realistic footage of actual tornadoes, so we do not recommend it for those who are suffering from this fear.
Hurricanes and Tornadoes are a part of our daily lives, and today’s media provides you with the opportunity to view destructive and devastating storms, as well as their aftermath repeatedly, in high definition detail.
Even though we all agree that the coverage is very important, it is also essential that such coverage is put into perspective. While small weather events occur frequently, it is only those that leave severe damages that are deemed newsworthy.
The available media coverage may easily cause a skewed belief that storms of such magnitude are much more common than they really are.
How to Be Rationally Prepared for storms
Although the chances that you will be caught in a killer storm are quite small, but we will not deny the fact that the risks are real. Therefore, it is imperative that you are always prepared, especially if you live in a high-risk environment.
The key here is for you to recognize the difference between a rational preparedness and any possible phobic reactions. If you reside in a storm-prone area, then your area must have an official preparedness literature.
You will need to get a copy of that literature as such documents may be distributed online, in libraries, grocery stores, and other public locations or through some official websites. Make sure that you read through the available recommendations and set up a storm readiness plan.
If there are other people in your household, make sure that someone else handles the job of monitoring the weather. That person is in the best position to alert you about any possible dangers and help you make up your mind on the best course of action.
Hopefully, this takes some pressure off you, and may even help you overcome any obsessive checking. Make sure that you have the right information on the kind of storms that affect the area where you live.
For example, it is public knowledge that hurricanes can be quite devastating, but they are predicted long before they occur. Tornadoes can develop very quickly, but they only do so under specific weather conditions.
You should learn about the kinds of storms that may hit your environment as it can help you to make rational decisions about dealing with them.
Treatment of lilapsophobia
Just like many types of phobias, it is possible for lilapsophobia to be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques. Nevertheless, if your phobia is as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, you may need other types of therapy.
Talk to a therapist so that the root of your phobia can be diagnosed, and the right course of action can be prescribed.
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