Pluviophobia: (An Update)
In This article, we will discuss pluviophobia.
Rain is one the most beautiful phenomena of mother nature.
The sound of rain and its smell is usually appreciated and cherished around the world yet there are some people for whom rain is not a pleasant experience rather they are scared of it.
This phenomenon is called pluviophobia. People who suffer from it tend to avoid downpour in the best way possible.
The thought of rain and getting drenched in it brings an utter sense of dread in them and they remain enclosed in their homes/ offices for as long as the rain doesn’t stop.
Definition of Pluviophobia
Pluviophobia is the term which originated from the Greek words ‘Pluvio’ which means rain and ‘Phobos’ which means fear.
Therefore, Pluviophobia is the fear of rain.
There is another term for pluviophobia which is ombrophobia and they are sometimes used synonymously but both terms refer to the fear of rain.
Some people used ombrophobia for heavy rains accompanied by storms and thunder whereas pluviophobia is generally referred to as the fear of little rain, drizzle or downpour.
Definition of Ombrophobia
Like pluviophobia, ombrophobia is also derived from the Greek words ‘Ombros’ and ‘Phobos’. ‘Ombros’ means the ‘storm of rain’ while ‘Phobos’ means fear.
Therefore Ombrophobia is the extreme and irrational fear of rain found in children as well as in adults.
In many cases, the fear of rain usually comes along with fear of thunderstorms, fear of drowning and the fear of flooding.
It is likely that some people suffering with ombrophobia may only fear light rain and not heavy rain storms.
Who is a Pluviophobe?
People in relation with rain can be categorized into three groups
- First are those who love and enjoy rain and rainy seasons. The rain is a friend of these kinds of people. These people are called pluviophile.
- Second are those who are indifferent to rain. These are the people who neither enjoy nor get scared of rain and the rainy season for them is just like any other season.
- Third is the kind which is afraid of rain no matter if it’s a drizzle or rain storm. These are the people who are either called Ombrophobes or Pluviophobia
Prevalence of Pluviophobia:
In every ten Americans at least one person suffers from a fear of extreme weather. Including these fears is the fear of heavy rains.
Pluviophobia is more common in children than is adults and approximately 40 to 42 % of children have Pluviophobia which decreases and eventually goes away as they grow older.
There are 10-12% adults who are diagnosed with pluviophobia. The prevalence is greater in women as compared to men.
Research indicates a correlation between pluviophobia and other psychological disorders for example study shows that people suffering from schizophrenia, depression or anxiety may also show symptoms of pluviophobia.
The prognosis of pluviophobia is high as compared to the prognosis of other types of specific phobias.
Signs and Symptoms of Pluviophobia
Psychological research indicates that when a person suffers from phobia, their nervous system responds as if there is an actual threat.
Therefore, phobias intense anxiety that can quickly lead to a panic attack. Symptoms of pluviophobia are subjective and differs from one person to another depending on the intensity and severity of the symptoms.
As pluviophobia is found in both children and adults, the symptoms of both age groups are discussed differently below
Symptoms of Pluviophobia in children
- Shouting and continuous weeping
- Uncontrollable trembling
- Afraid at the sight of rain
- Trying to hide in a safe place when rain is accompanied with thunder.
- Staying inside home. Refusing to go to schools or parks.
Symptoms of Pluviophobia in adults
- Extreme anxiety which can lead to a panic attack.
- Gastrointestinal problems, and tachycardia.
- Pressure in the chest and head, dizziness, headaches, and trouble breathing
- Increased heartbeat
- Repeatedly checking the weather forecast and looking at sky to see for rain clouds.
- Body shivers
In addition to common physical symptoms, individuals also face some psychological symptoms such as:
- fear of losing control
- fear of fainting
- feelings of dread
- fear of dying
- fear of harm or illness
- guilt, shame, self-blame
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- anxiety and fear
Causes of Pluviophobia
Research indicates that pluviophobia can affect anyone.
There are no specific conditions which predispose the occurrence of pluviophobia, however negative experiences related to severe and extreme weather conditions such as flooding, lightening, and heavy rainfalls can cause changes on cognitive level by the process of classical conditioning.
People learn to associate rain with lack of control and fear. This pairing of stimuli activates when the individual anticipates the pretense of phobic stimulus.
Treatment of Pluviophobia
Treatment of pluviophobia is relatively simpler than the treatment of other specific phobias.
For many individuals who are suffering from rain or of being rained on, usually don’t always feel the need of treatment because they can just avoid the object of their fear.
This gives people suffering from Pluviophobia a feeling of control on the problem. But sometimes avoiding rain or of being rained on might not be possible or enough.
It is important for someone to always seek professional help when possible. This way you don’t lose time and do a better job and understand what is happening.
With understanding you can next move on to overcoming your fear of rain or of being rained on.
While most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment available for all of them, or guaranteed to work.
It strongly depends on the person suffering and severity in which that person is experiencing Pluviophobia but research indicates that the treatment of pluviophobia is relatively simpler than the treatment of other specific phobias.
Following are the commonly used treatment methods for the curing Pluviophobia.
- Talking Treatments for Pluviophobia
Talking cure or talking therapy, is one the most effective way of treating fear of rain or of being rained on or Pluviophobia.
Talking therapies are very laid-back treatments and physically non-intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behavior.
There are many different types of talking therapy, but they all aim to:
- help you recognize unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them (if you want to).
- help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
- help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
- give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who won’t judge you
Talking therapies are in most cases the same as counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, talking treatment.
There is usually a very little difference between what’s meant when talking about any of these.
- Exposure Therapy
In exposure therapy a person is slowly exposed to his/her fear again and again until the thing, about which they are afraid, does not trigger any kind of feeling of phobia or anxiety.
Two prominent methods are used to expose someone to fear are as follows
- One is visualization of fear also known as imaginary exposure
- seconds is to experience the fear in reality also known as in vivo exposure.
Many treatment approaches work on these two methods and sometimes both these approaches are combined to yield fruitful results.
- Systematic Desensitization
This therapy is based on the principle of classical conditioning and it is similar to behavioral therapy.
The aim of applying this therapy is to eliminate the phobia and replace this fear with another useful relaxation response to fear.
There are three phases to the treatment:
- Firstly, the person suffering from phobia is made aware of a technique which is muscle relaxation technique. A person is also taught with breathing exercises. For example, control over breathing, muscle relaxing or meditation.
- Secondly, the patient develops a hierarchy of fears. It starts with a stimulus which incites A lower level of anxiety and then grows up further to an extreme situation.
- Lastly, patients develop a hierarchy of their fear stimuli starting from a lower unpleasant stimulus and practice its relaxation technique. While practicing this relaxation therapy when they feel pleasant and feel that they are no longer afraid then continue to the next step of therapy. If at any point a person feels uncomfortable or upset he can easily switch back to the initial stage and restart the process to gain relaxation.
This therapy is productive in helping people to divert their spam of thoughts from negative to
positive. This helps in treatment of pluviophobia because people get indulged so much in their
fears that they fail to get to know that the object they are afraid of is not that much fearful. In this
training people get diverted from fearful thoughts and it becomes convenient for them to focus
on positive aspects.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT treatments stand on the concept that what we think and perceive are constantly influencing our behavior.
Experiencing anxiety and distress are in some cases distorting and bending one’s perception over reality.
Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to identify if they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.
For example, when someone is experiencing Pluviophobia.
Through the help of Cognitive behavioral therapy, you could identify if the fear and anxiety experienced from rain or of being rained on is an accurate depiction of reality.
And if not working on ways to change that.
Medication should be never taken without asking a doctor first. In general medication is not recommended for overcoming phobias.
Therapies have resulted to be a definitive way to overcome fears.
However, some types of medication are prescribed as short term solutions to the side effects of phobias.
Which include anxiety or depression. There are three general types of medication recommended for treating anxieties.
FAQ about pluviophobia
Q1. What is phobia?
Phobias are set of irrational beliefs and thought patterns that result emotion of fear after being
triggered from specific stimuli.
Q2. Is pluviophobia curable?
ANS: Yes, pluviophobia is curable with the help of a mental health professional.
Psychologists as well as psychiatrists can help you overcome this problem.
Q3. Do children suffer from it?
ANS: Yes, children as well as adults both are prone to suffer from pluviophobia, however in children it usually fades away as they grow old.
If symptoms are severe, kindly consult a metal health professional.
Q4: Is it normal to be extremely afraid of rains?
ANS: No, rain is a pleasant phenomenon all across the globe.
It’s okay to be indifferent to rain but if it is affecting your normal functioning so much that you cannot behave normally in rainy days then it is an indication that you seek the help of some mental health professional.
Q5. What are treatment methods to cure achluophobia?
There are various treatments for achluophobia which are given below.
– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
– Systematic Desensitization
– Mindfulness Training