Fear Of Earthquakes(Seismophobia): Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Fear of earthquakes – Seismophobia. Hundreds of thousands of phobias and earthquake phobia are one of the most common if you live in a seismic risk zone. It is defined as the extreme, often irrational fear of earthquakes. The word “seismophobia” comes from the Greek “seismo,” which means famine, earthquakes, or wars, and “phobos,” the Greek god of fear.

To some extent, we all fear earthquakes, natural calamities over which one has no control. They also cause enormous destruction of life and property. In the case of people with extreme seismophobia, fear interferes with their daily life. Many patients also have other phobias such as agoraphobia (the fear of not being able to escape), thanatophobia ( the fear of death ), or even the fear of being trapped or buried alive (taphephia).

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Causes of germophobia

  • People who live in earthquake-prone areas are more likely to develop a phobia of earthquakes.
  • Earthquakes are unstoppable natural calamities.
  • They often cause large-scale destruction of property and life.
  • People living in earthquake-prone areas experience shaking, rumbling, and tremors from time to time.
  • Most live in fear that the next “earthquake” could be huge and cause massive destruction of property, even life.
  • They also have to deal with walls that shake, aerial structures that fall, or damage in the form of cracked walls or glass.
  • In most germophobic individuals, the fear stems from a past ordeal with an earthquake (where one might have experienced the loss of life or financial loss).
  • This could trigger lifelong seismophobia.
  • We also read or hear news about earthquakes in which people are trapped under rubble for days, even weeks.
  • Such reports can naturally cause anxious people to develop an extreme fear of earthquakes.

In areas that experience frequent seismic activities, geologists monitor major events to minimize devastation through evacuation.

  • Leaving home is never a welcome change for most.
  • These days, more and more reports of earthquakes are occurring more frequently.
  • People who fear the end of the world or the apocalypse often correlate these events.
  • They believe that earthquakes are part of nature’s way of wiping large populations.
  • In many recent earthquakes, such as the one in Japan, there were other significant consequences (tsunamis and damage to nuclear reactors).
  • This, in turn, raised fears of radiation or food contamination.
  • Movies like Godzilla portray animal mutation due to radiation leaks into the ocean.
  • Such TV shows and movies can also lead to seismophobia.

Symptoms of fear of earthquakes

Seismophobia represents internal anxiety and depending on the extent of the fear; there may be different symptoms. These include:

  • Palpitations, rapid or shallow breathing (hyperventilation).
  • The desire to flee or hide
  • The phobic may even cry or scream at the thought of an earthquake.
  • Dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, nausea, headaches, etc.
  • Phobics can do whatever they can to plan an escape route in the event of an earthquake.
  • To prevent them from falling off, one can even spend large amounts of money securing their home, cabinets, hanging pots, etc.
  • Their behavior can be obsessive-compulsive in some cases.
  • Most patients are constantly scared of earthquakes.
  • This naturally affects your daily life and even compromises your relationships.

Overcome seismophobia

  • Educating yourself about earthquakes is one of the best ways to overcome seismophobia.
  • One could determine ways to protect your home and family without going overboard.
  • This includes having a fire extinguisher ready, writing down an escape plan, keeping a first aid kit on hand, etc.
  • However, if the phobia interferes with your daily life, talk to a professional psychotherapist who can recommend ways and means to deal with this anxiety.
  • Medication can be prescribed as a last resort in extreme cases. Self-help techniques like deep breathing and daily 10-minute meditation can also help you cope with anxiety attacks.

Many modern therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, NLP, neurolinguistic programming, etc., can help overcome seismophobia by getting to its roots.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.