The fear of floods is known as Antlophobia. Floods are sudden and devastating natural events, which cause damage and lasting trauma.
Reasons For The Fear Of Floods
Flooding can represent the destruction of whole lives. Families are frequently left homeless, often without insurance or any other assistance. Memories, in the form of family photographs and objects that carry sentimental value, are lost and destroyed by this force of Nature.
Fearing floods is nothing new. Since Biblical times, floods have appeared as frightening forces of destruction, and sometimes they are perceived as God’s own punishment. From Noah’s Ark, to Hurricane Katrina, the flood is a symbol of the power Nature holds over all of us. In contemplation of such power, we feel small and insignificant.
Media Coverage Is A Prime Trigger
Antlophobia can develop after exposure to mass media reports about flooding and the damage it inflicts. It can also develop after personal exposure to a disaster, such as the one in New Orleans. The rock band, The Tragically Hip, wrote a song, years before Hurricane Katrina, titled, New Orleans Is Sinking, that seemed to foreshadow the disaster:
My memory is muddy what’s this river I’m in
New Orleans is sinking and I don’t want to swim
Disaster Relief Is Not Always Available
While countries like the USA have controls in place to provide disaster relief to their citizens, through the administration of government programs and also through charitable donations, third-world countries often lack these assets.
When a third-world country is flooded, the problems of poverty and the country’s debt load come into play. There is little solace for those citizens when their possessions, often scant to begin with, are wiped out. It can also be difficult to find proper medical care, and food and shelter.
Floods can devastate. It is often said that flooding is more damaging than fire. While fires also destroy, there is often something left behind. With flooding, all that remains is mold, and waterlogged, useless objects and property.
Flooding on a smaller scale can occur in basements, etc., and this can be repaired through a long and expensive process of draining out water with pumps, etc. Those who fear flooding often fear it on both the small and large scale.
Often, people with this phobia live in areas where insurance won’t cover flooding damage. They are in the danger zone, where their investments are constantly at risk. Worrying about flooding can occur anytime there is extensive rainfall, and much preparation and emergency preparedness is necessary to control fears and feel some sense of safety.
This phobia can be difficult to control, since Nature is by definition beyond our control. Therefore, some people who suffer from this phobia will try to live in places where flooding is unheard of. Dry, arid regions will be preferred. In certain cases, people’s careers and relationships may be affected by their fear of floods. They will change their lives in an attempt to avoid triggers.
The triggers for this fear are many – mass media reports of flooding, stories from survivors, scenes of destruction on the Internet and in newspapers – all play their part. As well, written reports, such as those written by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, can carry a great deal of gravity. Compassionate accounts of Hurrican Katrina, for example (written by Cooper) are harrowing, honest, and moving.
Other triggers are bad weather reports and flood warnings. Whether or not an actual flood comes to pass, the warnings that are given out to the public will cause a range of symptoms.
The symptoms of Antlophobia include nausea, racing heartbeat, intense and persistent anxiety, and a feeling of doom. People with this phobia will become almost paralyzed with fear and malaise when faced with triggers.
Treating this phobia is possible, and proper treatment should always include a visit to a trained mental health care professional, who may prescribe anti-depressants.