If someone has astraphobia, what are they afraid of?
And the answer: thunder and lightning.
Astraphobia can affect children, adults, and even some animals, like cats and dogs. It's an extreme or irrational fear of thunder and lightning, even when it's not raining outside, or even when one is safely sheltered from the elements.
Specific phobias are an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of objects or situations that pose little real danger, but provoke intense anxiety and avoidance. Unlike the anxiety you may feel when giving a speech or taking a test, specific phobias are long lasting, cause intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect your ability to function.
To this day, much remains unknown about the causes of phobias. According to the Mayo Clinic, phobias are often the culmination of a combination of factors. For example, a negative experience with the stimulus (say, a particularly harmful storm) combined with either learned or genetic anxiety from your parents could create a lasting fear of thunderstorms. There is some evidence to suggest the fear is a result of brain function, but it's more likely a result of both external and internal factors such as these.
Phobias can be dealt with through various forms of therapy and treatment. Sometimes they can even be solved through continued direct exposure, or reconditioning. By repeatedly experiencing the stimulus in a non-harmful environment, it is possible to form a better understanding and ultimately become better equipped to deal with the fear accompanying a stimulus.
To learn more about phobias, check out the video below.