Ombrophobia: what is the fear of thunderstorms and rain?

Maybe you are ombrophobic? Ombrophobia is the fear of thunderstorms and rain. This excessive fear would be the most widespread in France. How to explain it and how does it manifest? Meaning, Symptoms, and Solutions to Defeat It!

  Ombrophobie : c'est quoi la peur des orages et de la pluie ?

Lightning, driving rain, thunder, thud... ombrophobia is fear of thunderstorms, hail and rain . If it can make you smile, this phobia would be the most widespread, at least the most searched on the internet, in France , indicates the American site AllAboutCats who identified, by analyzing the keywords typed on Google, the most frequent fears for each country in the world. Note that ombrophobia would also be the phobia most frequent 'unusual' in Germany, Argentina, Venezuela ... This phobia has also been highlighted in the Netflix series ' The woman who lived across from the girl at the window ', aired in January 2022. The main character (Anna) played by Kristen Bell would suffer from it...

Definition: what does ombrophobia mean?

The term 'ombrophobia' comes from the Greek ὄμβρος - ombros - meaning 'rain storm' and φόβος - phobos - meaning fear. Literally, ombrophobia means fear of rainstorms and by extension, the fear of unusual weather like storm, hail and heavy rain . This term is said to have been introduced for the first time by the Austro-Hungarian botanist Julius Wiesner in the 19th century to categorize plants that do not like rain, such as succulents. Conversely, shade-loving plants love water.

What are the symptoms of ombrophobia?

Phobias are characterized by strong, irrational fears of things that, in reality, pose little or no threat. Ombrophobia is manifested by an apprehension , a feeling of unease , a rising anxiety (heart beating fast, sweaty hands , hyperventilation, feeling of heat, perspiration...) or a panic in front of :

  • Hail
  • A storm
  • A strong wind
  • A storm

And this, 'by sight or sound' bad weather, says Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychologist and lecturer at the University of Quebec in Montreal, to the Canadian magazine Urbania . Ombrophobia is therefore a phobia that impacts daily life because it involves irrational and obsessive monitoring of the weather . The ombrophobic person can also present symptoms related to anxiety such as sleep disturbances, nausea, stomach aches or headaches...

What is the cause of ombrophobia?

The person who is phobic will interpret any situation in a catastrophic way

Also according to the survey conducted by AllAboutCats, 10% of the world's population suffers from an atypical phobia. Ombrophobia is said to be reported in approximately 35% of countries worldwide . ' We know that young children suffer more from ombrophobia than adults. Some may fear the weather conditions that come with heavy rains. This phobia can therefore often be accompanied by several weather-related phobias such as the fear of lightning and thunder ( astraphobie ), fog ( homichlophobie ) or floods ( antlophobie ), as well as the fear of drowning ( bathophobia ). Often this fear is linked to a trauma or event from the past , often occurring in childhood. Genetic causes are also put forward. ' The person who is phobic will interpret any situation in a catastrophic way , explains the psychologist. It's not the storm or the rain in itself that is scary, but its consequences , in this case with ombrophobia: I can be struck down, drowned, something can fall on me, I can have an accident and therefore die... However, thunderstorm-related accidents are rare in France . ' There are approximately 250 thunderstorm days per year in France with a hundred people affected and 'only' ten deaths. So, in proportion, the accidents are low ', reports Vincent Lombart, firefighter and former firefighter from Paris, who we interviewed in August 2022.

Treatment: how to overcome ombrophobia?

The psychologist, interviewed by the Canadian media, indicates that it is important, in this kind of phobia, to confront the situation that we fear and not avoid it because it is a mechanism that would quickly become a vicious circle. ' If a storm is announced, an ombrophobic will manage not to leave his house that day, until telecommuting, for example. However, avoidance is an anxiety-maintaining factor that is linked to this natural element. '. Exposure should be gradual. For this, sessions with a psychologist can be useful. The cognitive behavioral therapy ( TCC ) is particularly indicated in case of phobia.

AllAboutsCats survey (August 2022) / Interview with Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychologist, for Urbania (November 2021) / Interview with Vincent Lombart, firefighter and former firefighter of Paris (August 2022) for the Journal des Femmes Santé.