Brontophobia is the fear for thunder and lighting. Phobias are classified under psychosomatic disorder arising due to irrational fear. Most of them are intense causing serious symptoms and panic reaction on the affected person. We all have fear to some extent for any unexpected moments. But the person affected with phobia will have irrational fear to great extent that it will prevent him from doing his daily activities normally.
Brontophobia is common in children of age group 3-10 and this will eventually subside as the child matures into adolescent age. Even pets will have fear for thunder to some extent until it grows up. However there are some adults who have this kind of fear which would hinder them from his daily work. Brontophia is also called as Astraphobia.
For normal persons, this may sound illogical since sudden lighting and thunder storms are scary for anyone. But when you see the affected person, he would behave strangely by the sound of thunder. He/she would have high anxiety when he hears the sound of thunder even at the distance. He would be filled in with apprehension and restlessness and would start acting to the response wildly. He would look as if he is in a panic attack. He may even cancel his trip to office and close all the windows and curtains and lock himself into the room.
In severe cases, the person would lose control of sanity and would suffer from fear of death.
For mild to moderate forms of brontophobia the signs include irrational fear, feeling of panic and anxiety and restlessness. For severe case, there would be rapid heartbeat, palpitation, trembling of hands, nausea, vomiting, feeling of terror and extreme cautious reaction. The person would start taking extreme measures to avoid the lowest chance of getting attacked by thunder. He would literally sit in the center of the room, locking all the doors and windows. He would be obsessed to hear every weather forecasts fearing the announcement of thunderstorm. The symptoms are more intense when the affected child/adult is alone at home than surrounded by others.
Phobias occur due to learned response. The person becomes fearful of particular thing due to the unpleasant experience he gets for the stimuli earlier. Maybe, the child or adult would have been exposed to the stimuli (thunder sound) in unpleasant manner it may develop into phobia. In reality, they do not dread the thunder but they perceive the situation to be more fearful than the actual stimuli.
However, why certain children/adult become victims of phobia is still not known.
Doctor would often conduct standardized tests meant for measuring the intensity of phobia. He would assess the child behavior using home testing methods. In children, bronchophobia is quite common and understandable but there are adults who are affected with this disorder and struggle to overcome the fear even after years.
The doctor would refer the child/adult to psychologist or mental health professional who would make use of behavior therapy, psychotherapy and exposure therapy for curing the person.
Through effective behavior therapy and exposure method, the phobia can be completely cured. Further the professional would also recommend the person to undergo relaxation techniques and visualizing the stimuli in relaxed atmosphere.