Astraphobia Leads to Year-Round Fear in Central Georgia
There are hundreds of phobias, otherwise known as things people fear. From acrophobia, the fear of heights, to zoophobia, the fear of animals, phobias have taken over the alphabet.
But you may not have heard of Astraphobia, and even more surprising, you may suffer from it!
Astraphobia translates to a fear of storms. It's more common than you may think and it can really impact someone suffering from the disabling phobia.
WGXA’s Chief Meteorologist spoke to Dr. Miranda Pratt, a Psychology professor with Mercer University about how to deal with a fear than many have admittedly suffered from.
According to Dr. Pratt, a phobia is a disabling anxiety that is all out of proportion to the realistic threat. Pratt adds that astraphobia falls in the type of specific phobia of natural environment phobias.
It's hard to nail down exactly where one's fear originated from, but Dr. Pratt says there's one place you may look for answers.
“Somebody may have had a fear or overconcern about thunderstorms from a very young age or they could develop a fear based on a close call they had and from that point on be very concerned about thunderstorms.”
And when the wicked weather hits, the end result can be scary, both in terms of the storm's aftermath and how your body reacts.
“The heart rate...the breathing...the blood pressure...muscle tension, all has that fight-or-flight response. Unfortunately, you can't flee it and you can't fight it.”
Dr. Pratt insists that educating yourself can be a vital component in the battle to overcome your fear.
“If I learn more about the different kind of cloud formations and what's potentially harboring lightning and what isn't, I can know more about what is legitimately dangerous and what isn't.”
So let's learn more about storm patterns in central Georgia. Storms are possible year round but most often occur in the Spring and Summer months. A storm will last on average about 30 minutes and will most often occur in the afternoon and evening hours. Damaging winds are the most common type of severe weather in central Georgia and can be a part of any thunderstorm but are especially common in July. Storms in central Georgia are also likely to produce hail in any month, but typically peak in April and May.
Dr. Pratt is quick to point out that weather impacts everyone every day and that can actually be a good thing!
“Meteorology is interesting. It's a natural phenomenon. You can't escape it, so the more you learn about it, the more manageable it'll seem and the less completely out of control we might feel.”
There are also some medical techniques that are available for those that suffer from a fear of storms. Your best bet is to contact a local cognitive behavioral therapist for help.