What is Selenophobia?
Selenophobia, also known as lunaphobia, is the intense fear of the moon or moonlight. A related condition, the specific fear of the full moon, is known as remaphobia or mestoselenophobia. This fear may be rooted in superstition and the mysteriousness of the moon, especially the full moon. It may also be linked to concern for one’s safety because of the thought that “more criminal activity takes place at night."
This is a specific phobia and the name comes from the Greek word “seleno” meaning “moon”.
Symptoms of Selenophobia
Extreme Anxiety, Dread
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- Excessive Sweating
- Dry Mouth
- Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
- Lack of Focus
- Feelings of Powerlessness
- Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
- Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
- Avoidance Behavior
Causes of Selenophobia
Selenophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated 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, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.
Selenophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
Treatments for Selenophobia
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive Therapy (CT)
- Group Therapy
- Talk Therapy