What is Cometophobia?

Cometophobia is the irrational fear of comets. This specific phobia focuses on comets and the potential devastation they can cause, up to and including expectation of the earth’s total destruction. Historically, comets were thought to be harbingers of “the end” and sufferers today may believe that comets are signs of an impending doomsday.

Cometophobia is related to astrophobia (fear of stars or celestial space) as well as meteorophobia (fear of meteors), kosmikophobia (fear of cosmic phenomenon), siderophobia (fear of stars) and spacephobia, the fear of outer space.

Comets are made up of a mixture of rock particles, ice, and dust. Comets carry a tail or atmosphere that gives them their distinctive, “streaked” appearance. For some, the sight of a comet may aggravate thoughts of disaster or doom.

The root word “comet” is Greek meaning “hairy star”.

Symptoms of Cometophobia

Sufferers will often not want to go outside at night and may, in extreme cases, construct a “safe room” or find a safer place in their home as a bedroom to avoid being struck by a comet

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Cometophobia

Cometophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Such phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Cometophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Cometophobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments

Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.