What is Brontophobia?

What is Brontophobia?


Brontophobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of thunderstorms and lightning. It is also often interchangeable with astraphobia, keraunophobia, or tonitrophobia even though they’re different.

Brontophobia Definition

Brontophobia is a type of specific phobia that is characterized by an intense and irrational fear of thunderstorms and lightning . Naturally most people are afraid of thunder and lightning, a brontophobic is unusually afraid of thunder and lightning.

Brontophobia vs Astrophobia

Astraphobia and brontophobia are terms often used interchangeably to describe the fear of thunder and lightning. Although both phobias are related to natural phenomenon, they are different. However, many individuals just use them interchangeably. The treatment approaches for both phobias are generally similar .

What is the Difference Between Brontophobia and Astrophobia?

Brontophobia is the fear of thunder and lightning, while Astrophobia is the fear of celestial objects such as stars, planets, and space . Meaning an Astrophobic may be a brontophobic, but a brontophobic is not necessarily an Astrophobic. Because just because you fear thunder and lightning doesn’t mean you are also afraid of other celestial objects such as the stars, the sun, the moon or other planets.

What are Brontophobia Symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of brontophobia may include chest pain, numbness, nausea, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, and/or sweaty palms either during a thunderstorm or before one begins. One may also have an obsessive desire to monitor the storm by checking the weather forecast consistently; cling to others for a sense of safety and protection; or compulsively hide in a closet, bathroom, bathtub, or under the bed to seek shelter during a storm or periods of bad weather.

An individual with brontophobia may understand that these feelings are irrational and overblown, however, they are unable to control their physical, emotional, or psychological reactions. They may also sweat, shake, and cry; all of which can worsen when they are alone. In extreme cases, brontophobia can cause an individual to be afraid to leave the home, cancel plans at even a slight possibility of a storm, and avoid all situations where a storm may be present (e.g., camping) .

What are the Causes of Brontophobia?

Brontophobia can be caused by past traumatic events linked to thunderstorms and lightning. For example, if an individual witnesses someone getting hurt by thunder and lightning, they may later develop a phobia of thunderstorms and lightning. Those who are more prone to anxiety and fear are also more likely to develop brontophobia, as well as those with autism and those with sensory processing disorders (i.e., those who have difficulty handling sensory information) .

Brontophobia Diagnosis

Brontophobia is a type of specific phobia that is typically diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional following the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The symptoms meet the criteria for diagnosis if the individual suffers from a persistent fear of storms that is unreasonable or excessive; exposure to thunderstorms results in an anxiety response (e.g., panic attacks, tantrums, clinging, crying, or freezing); they realize that their fear is disproportionate to the perceived threat or danger (this is not always present in children); they take steps to avoid the object or situation they fear, or endure such experiences with intense distress or anxiety; and the phobic reaction interferes with the individual’s normal routine and relationships, or causes significant distress .

Brontophobia Treatment

The treatment of brontophobia typically involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication . Exposure therapy is a common form of psychotherapy used to treat brontophobia. It involves gradually exposing the individual to the object or situation they fear, in this case, thunder and lightning, in a controlled environment. This helps the individual to learn how to manage their anxiety and fear response . Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another form of psychotherapy that can be used to treat brontophobia. It helps the individual to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their phobia . In some cases, medication such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of brontophobia .

Other Phobias Similar to Brontophobia

Brontophobia Vs Claustrophobia:

While Brontophobia is the fear of thunder and lightning, Claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed or confined spaces.

Brontophobia Vs Nyctophobia:

Nyctophobia is majorly attributed to the fear of darkness or night. However, a brontophobic (who fears thunder and lightning) can also be a Nyctophic and fear darkness.

Conclusion: Brontophobia is the Fear of what?

Brontophobia is the fear of thunderstorms and lightning. Most people just use one term more than the other, but really even though they are similar, both are different.

Other Resources:

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comments below.

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