What is the fear of earthquakes and how to control it?

Tremophobia is the name given to the fear of earthquakes, characterized by a state of anxiety and exhibiting a persistent, excessive and irrational fear of the movement of the earth.

Flor Gil Bernal, an expert in the Department of Psychology at the University of Iberoamericana, assures us that there are several types of reactions after an earthquake.

  • stress: Overcomes almost immediately.
  • Acute stress: decreased attention, clouding of consciousness, temporary memory loss, disorientation, tremors, aggression, and restlessness that can last for hours or up to 4 weeks.
  • Post-traumatic stress: The same symptoms appear up to 1 month after the event.
  • Acute post-traumatic stress: repetitive unpleasant thoughts, physiological reactions (hand sweating, tachycardia, chest tightness or dizziness), and behavioral reactions (restriction in working, studying, or performing activities) may occur from the event. After more than a month.

However, in the case of tremophobia, health officials say symptoms of severe panic and/or excessive anxiety can last up to six months, leading to “changes in behavior, decreased motivation, decreased energy, and a tendency to isolate.” They tend to be more irritable, and social relationships are often significantly affected.

How to manage earthquake fear

Given the fear of earthquakes, psychology experts have proposed a series of measures that can be applied during and after an earthquake.


  • Suppose you are afraid and consider it a natural emotion and motivated by external factors.
  • Realize that you are not in control of the situation
  • avoid devastating thoughts
  • Get information from official sources
  • find a safe place

After the earthquake:

  • talk about what you feel and what you have experienced
  • avoid information overload
  • spend more time with family
  • do something to clear your mind
  • Practice relaxation techniques and physical exercises

Why are we afraid when an earthquake occurs?

Fear of earthquakes is a psychological reaction that occurs when faced with a risk or threat, because it is uncontrollable and nothing can be done to avoid it, says the official University of Psychology of Andalusia-Orienta. pointing out.

This reaction can produce feelings of distress, anxiety, stress, recurring thoughts, sleep disturbances, or loss of appetite, and physical sensations such as increased heart rate, sweating, chills, shivering, muscle tension, or May be reflected in physiological responses. short-term, medium-term or long-term.

José Ramón Grajales, a psychiatrist with the Mental Health Service of the Ministry of Health (SSa), explained in an interview with C. NN when exposed to a stimulus such as an earthquake, people suffering from tremophobia can present a crisis of distress that can be incapacitating.

Experts at the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that tremophobia is part of what are known as “simple phobias,” in which phobias of clowns, confined spaces, or insects are cataloged. increase.

  • Tremophobia affects 4% of the Mexican population, and 2.5% to 3.5% of affected people may suffer from post-traumatic stress after an earthquake.

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