COLUMBUS, Ohio — Severe weather affects everyone, but some Ohioans have had to pay a much higher price because of thunderstorms and tornadoes.

What You Need To Know

  • Symptoms of weather-related anxiety could be nightmares, trouble sleeping, eating or trembling

  • Psychology experts suggest breathing slowly, creating a plan and being with loved ones during a severe weather event 

  • If you experience weather anxiety symptoms long term, then experts suggest speaking with a therapist 

Anxiety surrounding weather can happen directly or indirectly. If you have lost your home, community or a loved one because of the weather, that can cause direct anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, the weather can affect someone just as severely indirectly. If you have witnessed the negative or life-changing impact the weather has had on others, you can also have anxiety. 

Some signs that might indicate that you are experiencing weather-related anxiety are: 

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Replaying the event over and over in your mind
  • Nightmares
  • Fast breathing
  • Trembling

With a severe weather event, Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Susan Albers said it’s best to breathe, stay mindful and have a plan. 

“Being well prepared can help you to stay grounded and in the moment,” said Albers. “Check in with the media on occasion. Stay informed, but limit your amount of time. This is going to help you to avoid spiraling into anxiety. Having a well, thought out plan in the case of an emergency, a safe place, supportive people in your life will also help to give you a sense of safety and security.”

Albers suggested working with a therapist long term if you find that you are having trouble sleeping/eating or having panic attacks.

She also recommended staying with a family member or friend when you know a storm is coming, so they can help you relax and stay grounded.