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What is Chionophobia?
Chionophobia- Fear of snow.
Facts and figures about natural environment phobia are difficult to come by and this particular subgroup is perhaps less amenable to study in that patients with natural environment phobias do not often seek treatment. It appears that much of the knowledge in relation to this group is conjectural rather than factual. For example, it is common for young children to fear the crashes and flashes of a thunderstorm, especially at night, and to seek the safety of their parents' bed. However, while many will grow out of these fears, the number of children who go on to develop storm phobia is not known. Also, it is more common for storm phobia to develop at an older age.
Equally, being apprehensive or slightly fearful of the sea, especially during rough weather, is understandable since one's chances of survival, on accidentally falling in, are minimal. In addition, very many people experience similar apprehensive feelings in fog or walking through a dark forest, especially if they are alone. Here, the fear may be of some unknown danger that could be lurking out of sight in the fog or in the forest.
Facts about Chionophobia
The fact that all these fears are recognised to be a common feature of human experience has been thoroughly exploited by film makers. No doubt every reader can think of examples of horror or thriller films where storms, fog, dark forests and raging seas (along with suitably atmospheric music) have been used to provoke the screams of the audience. Phobic fear is, of course, much more intense, severe and distressing than the fear described above, but in relation to natural environment phobias, it is easy to understand how the low-level anxiety that is commonly experienced might, for some reason, become a disproportionate phobic fear in some people.
Treatment of Chionophobia
People with natural environment phobias very often do not seek treatment and cope by avoiding the feared stimulus. When treatment is needed, graduated exposure is the preferred option although it is II nlikely that this can be carried out in a clinical setting. A therapist may be able to use films of, for ('xample, a thunderstorm to try and ascertain and challenge the person's beliefs about storms. Obviously, however, a real thunderstorm cannot be arranged and probably the best that can be done is to discuss a self-help programme that the person can implement the next time that there is a storm. If the feared feature is accessible, such as in the case of a forest, a self-help programme of gradually increased exposure is possible, perhaps enlisting the help of a family member or friend.
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