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19:39 PM

FOX28: Weather Phobias

Extreme Weather Can Have Psychological Impact

What are you afraid of? Is it spiders, snakes, heights? Many of those things you can likely avoid most days. But when it comes to the weather, specifically severe weather, many times you have no way to get away.

With spring storms, comes the worry about tornados, and severe thunderstorms in central Ohio. There are many people out there that panic when the storm clouds start to gather, and the lighting and thunder start to roar.

Dr. Megan Schabbing is the medical director of psychiatric emergency services at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

She appeared live on FOX28, to talk about what happens to a person when anxiety starts to build from severe weather and what people can do for themselves, and for each other.

"It's very real, there are some people who get severe anxiety from storms," Dr. Schabbing told FOX28.

In some cases, the phobia is so severe, it can change behavior patterns.

"Some people develop such anxiety they can't go outside, or get near a window. They can be shaky, sweaty, heart palpitations, heart starts racing.  It can be hard to function, Schabbing said." "For some people, it can be very disabling, that's when its a phobia, cant go about daily activities."

The big question then is what do you do? Dr. Schabbing says there are opportunities and solutions.

"Talk to your doctor, much like other anxiety, it's important to rule out any other medical problem that is contributing to this. Then its a matter of finding training therapists to do a specific type of therapy," Dr. Schabbing said.

"I think there can be a stigma about certain mental illnesses, but if it causing problems in your life, you should be reaching out to your doctor," Schabbing said.

Another thing people can do, reach out to your friends or family members if you know someone has a tough time.

"Help someone by talking them through it. Maybe find ways to help them redirect themselves, get control of their emotions," Schabbing said.

To watch the full interview with Dr. Schabbing, click here.