Overcoming Weather Phobias: Enhancing Daily Life

Fear of the weather is a common phobia, and can be treated through gradual exposure. Unlike general anxiety disorders, phobias are usually related to something specific. The immediate reaction when someone experiences a phobia can manifest itself in various physiological sensations such as dizziness, rapid breathing, dry mouth, palpitations, and sweating. There are phobias that go away on their own without treatment, especially among children and adolescents. For example, about 2.9% of children experience social phobia compared to only 0.3% of adolescents.

Unlike other fears that we usually manage to avoid directly dealing with, when it comes to the weather we have much less control. Those who experience these fears describe exactly what might happen. For example, acrophobia is fear of wind – a destructive wind can bring down trees, damage houses and blow things away; nepopophobia is fear of clouds both because of their disturbing presence overhead and because of the automatic link to severe weather that may come.

Fears of the weather are created and develop mostly due to the fear that the weather will interfere with daily life against the background of past cases in which the weather was experienced as a particularly negative and destructive factor. Another particular factor is related to genetics and a number of studies have found a certain degree of genetic similarities between relatives who share the same phobia.

In last year’s Netflix parody series “The Woman Next Door to the Girl in the Window,” we meet Anna (Kristen Bell) who avoids going outside when it’s supposed to rain due to her fear starting after her daughter’s tragic death. Catherine Clements also avoided going outside during winter snowfall for eight years and did not drive at all in cold days due to an incident on an icy main road in 2008. She refused to seek help due to embarrassment over her condition but eventually sought help after realizing she could no longer live her life in this way.

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