Phobia Wiki

Ceraunophobia (from cerauno, Greek for thunder, lightning, thunderbolt) or keraunophobia, is the irrational fear of thunder and lightning, or in other words fear of thunderstorms. The separate term for fear of lightning but excluding thunder is Astraphobia/Astrapophobia (from Greek astrape, "lightning") or Fulgophobia (from Latin fulgo, "lightning") and for fear of thunder but excluding lightning is Brontophobia (from Greek brontos, "thunder") or Tonitrophobia (from Latin tonitrui, "thunder").


A person with Ceraunophobia will often feel anxious during a thunderstorm even when they understand that the threat to them is minimal. Some symptoms are those accompanied with many phobias, such as trembling, crying, sweating, panic attacks, the sudden feeling of using the bathroom, nausea, the feeling of dread, and rapid heartbeat. However, there are some reactions that are unique to ceraunophobia. For instance, reassurance from other people is usually sought, and symptoms worsen when alone. Many people who have ceraunophobia will look for extra shelter from the storm. They might hide underneath a bed, under the covers, in a closet, in a basement, or any other space where they feel safer. Efforts are usually made to smother the sound of the thunder; the person may cover their ears or curtain the windows. A sign that someone has ceraunophobia is a very high obsession in weather forecasts. An ceraunophobic person will be alert for news of incoming storms. They may watch the weather on television constantly during rainy bouts and may even track thunderstorms online. This can become severe enough that the person may not go outside without checking the weather first. In very extreme cases, ceraunophobia can lead to agoraphobia, the fear of leaving the home.


A 2007 study found Ceraunophobia the third most prevalent phobia in the US and the most prevalent weather phobia. It can occur in people of any age. It occurs in many children, and should not be immediately identified as a phobia because children naturally go through many fears as they mature. Their fear of thunder and lightning cannot be considered a fully developed phobia unless it persists for more than six months. In this case, the child's phobia should be addressed, for it may become a serious problem in adulthood. To lessen a child's fear during thunderstorms, the child can be distracted by games and activities. A bolder approach is to treat the storm as an entertainment; a fearless adult is an excellent role model for children. Sometimes children cannot be attracted to video games and activities while a thunderstorm is happening. Some children usually go to basements and other places that are quiet. Sufferers, particularly young children with sensitive audio, may also fear other loud noises during thunderstorms other than thunder, such as tornado sirens or NOAA weather radio alarms. If the child fears the loud noises in general, the suffering may also have Ligyrophobia, or irrational fear of loud noises.


The most widely used and possibly the most effective treatment for Ceraunophobia is exposure to thunderstorms and eventually building an immunity. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also often used to treat Ceraunophobia. The patient will in many cases be instructed to repeat phrases to himself or herself in order to become calm during a storm. Heavy breathing exercises can reinforce this effort.

Dogs and cats

Dogs may exhibit severe anxiety during thunderstorms; between 15 and 30 percent may be affected. Research confirms high levels of cortisol - a hormone associated with stress - affects dogs during and after thunderstorms. Remedies include behavioral therapies such as counter conditioning and desensitization, anti-anxiety medications, and dog appeasing pheromone (DAP), a synthetic analogue of a hormone secreted by nursing canine mothers. Studies have also shown that cats can be afraid of thunderstorms. Whilst it is very rare, cats have been known to hide under a table or behind a couch during a thunderstorm. Generally if any animal is anxious during a thunderstorm or any similar, practically harmless event (e.g. fireworks display), it is advised to simply continue behaving normally, instead of attempting to comfort animals. Showing fearlessness is, arguably, the best method to "cure" the anxiety.

Notable sufferers

External link

Weather phobias
Aestophobia (fear of hot weather) · Agripyrophobia (fear of wildfires) · Anemophobia (fear of winds) · Antlophobia (fear of flooding) · Ariditaphobia (fear of droughts) · Catastrophobia (fear of any natural disaster) · Ceraunophobia (fear of thunder and lightning) · Chionophobia (fear of snow) · Chionothyellaphobia (fear of blizzards) · Cyclonophobia (fear of tropical cyclones) · Cymophobia (fear of waves) · Frigoriphobia (fear of cold weather) · Grandophobia (fear of hail) · Homichlophobia (fear of fog) · Humidophobia (fear of humidity) · Nephophobia (fear of clouds) · Nivisphobia (fear of avalanches) · Ombrophobia (fear of rain) · Pluvifrigophobia (fear of freezing rain) · Tempestaphobia (fear of storms) · Serenophobia (fear of fair weather) · Turbophobia (fear of tornadoes)