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Pluviofobia (fear of rain): symptoms, causes and treatment

Pluviofobia (fear of rain): symptoms, causes and treatment

June 16, 2024

Pluviofobia, also known as ombrofobia , is the persistent and intense fear of the rains and the events related to them (thunder, lightning, etc.). It is a specific phobia to an environmental stimulus, which can be caused by several factors.

In this article we will see what pluviofobia is, what are some of its main characteristics and what strategies can be used to treat it.

  • Related article: "Types of phobias: exploring the disorders of fear"

Pluviofobia: persistent fear of rain

The word pluviofobia is composed of the adjective "pluvial", which means "relative to rain" (from the Latin "pluvialis"), and the word "phobia", which comes from the Greek "fobos" and means fear.

So, the pluviofobia is the persistent and intense fear of rain and those elements that are related. It is a fear that can occur during childhood , although it can also occur in adolescence and adulthood ..

But this is not the only term used to describe the persistent fear of rain. One of the synonyms of "pluviofobia" is the term "ombrofobia", which mixes the Greek "ombro" (meaning "rain"), and the word "fobos".

This last term has had other derivations. For example, there is a species of plants that can not withstand much exposure to rain, so they have been called "ombrofobas". On the other hand, there is a great variety of vegetation which is called "ombrofila", due to its high resistance to rain.

General characteristics of this disorder

While the characteristic fear of pluviofobia is caused by an environmental element (rain), this can be considered a type of phobia specific to the natural environment . The estimated age for the development of this type of phobias is about 23 years, and the one that occurs most often is the fear of heights.

The stimulus that is perceived as harmful, in this case the rain, can generate expectations of conscious or non-conscious dangers. That is, people can respond with anxiety to the stimulus even when it manifests only indirectly. Also, when it occurs in adults, they can recognize that the stimulus does not represent in itself an imminent danger; on the contrary, when it occurs in children this awareness is generally absent.

Rain, on the other hand, is an atmospheric phenomenon that results from the condensation of water vapor located in the clouds. But is the rain a really bad event? Why can it represent danger to some people and not to others? What degree of discomfort can it cause? We will see some answers later.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Hydrophobia (fear of water): causes and treatment"


In general, the fear associated with phobias is triggered by exposure to a stimulus that is perceived as harmful. Such fear causes an immediate response of anxiety , which implies signs and symptoms such as tachycardia, hyperventilation, decreased gastrointestinal activity, increased blood pressure, palpitations, among others.

All of the above occurs as a consequence of the activation of the autonomic nervous system, which is stimulated in situations of risk. On the other hand, the anxiety response can manifest itself through disgust or repulsion, cardiovascular deceleration, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness and decrease in body temperature. The latter occurs when the specific part of the autonomic nervous system, known as the "parasympathetic nervous system", activates.

It should be noted that the intensity with which these manifestations occur depends to a large extent on the degree of exposure to the stimulus that is perceived as harmful. That is, the intensity of the response varies depending on whether the person is observing the rain from home, or if it is necessary to be directly exposed to a storm.

Likewise, the intensity of the response may vary according to the particular characteristics of the noxious stimulus and related associations, and the chances of escape that may present (For example, it may vary if it is a light rain or a thunderstorm).

In addition, a specific phobia can cause secondary behaviors that significantly impact a person's quality of life, but which usually provide momentary relief. For example, the avoidance of any situation related to the harmful stimulus. It can also cause hypervigilance towards these situations or the appearance of defensive behaviors.

Possible causes

According to Bados (2005), specific phobias can develop in people who do not have a predisposing condition, but who have any previous negative experience (direct or indirect), which generate intense warning reactions. In the specific case of pluviofobia, fear can be justified by previous experiences related to storms, architectural collapses, floods and other natural disasters.

With this, specific phobias are produced by an interaction of these experiences with other conditions such as biological, psychological and social vulnerability of the person. That is to say, it involves both neurobiological susceptibility and coping skills and social support of the person.

Furthermore, depending on the particular characteristics of the aforementioned interaction, the person can learn to respond with a disproportionate fear of the stimuli that he has associated with a danger or risk.


First of all, the treatment of this phobia can begin by evaluating both the degree of anxiety that causes the stimulus, as well as the associated negative negative experiences and the types of vulnerability of each person.

The treatments that have been most researched and used to eradicate phobias are the live exhibition to the feared situations, the participant model, the imaginal exhibition , systematic desensitization and reprocessing by means of eye movements. Each one of these interventions can have effective results according to the particular characteristics of the phobia that is treated.

Bibliographic references:

  • Olesen, J. (2018). Fear of Rain Phobia - Ombrophobia. Retrieved September 7, 2018. Available at //
  • Ombrophobia: the strange evil that makes people afraid of the rain (2011). Retrieved September 7, 2018. Available at //
  • Bados, A. (2006). Specific phobias Faculty of Psychology Autonomous University of Barcelona. Retrieved September 7, 2018. Available at //

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