Selenophobia is an intense fear of the moon. People who fear the moon may close curtains, avoid looking at the sky or refuse to go outside at nighttime. These symptoms may worsen during a full moon. Treatments such as exposure therapy can help people overcome phobia symptoms.
Selenophobia (suh-LEEN-o-foe-bee-uh) is an intense fear of the moon or moonlight. It’s a specific phobia. These phobias are very intense fears of something that doesn’t pose a real threat. Another name for selenophobia is lunaphobia.
People with selenophobia may feel anxious or distressed when thinking about the moon. They may avoid looking at the moon or going out at night. They may even suffer panic attacks (sudden, intense anxiety that causes physical symptoms).
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Like other specific phobias, traumatic experiences and genetics can increase your risk of developing selenophobia. Some people are afraid of the moon only. Others also have symptoms of:
Specific phobias are somewhat common. About 12.5% of adults in the United States have a specific phobia in their lifetime. Experts don’t know exactly how many people have selenophobia, but a fear of the moon is one of the less common specific phobias.
Often, people don’t know exactly what causes selenophobia. The anxiety sometimes stems from superstitions about the moon. For example, a child may read about werewolves coming out during a full moon.
Some people may link selenophobia to a traumatic childhood event that happened under moonlight or during a full moon. You may also be more likely to develop selenophobia if you have a parent or family member who’s afraid of the moon.
The primary symptom of selenophobia is an overwhelming fear of the moon or moonlight. Many people have worsening symptoms during a full moon.
Selenophobia can cause physical symptoms such as:
People with selenophobia might also:
Your healthcare provider may ask you questions to determine if your fear of the moon is a specific phobia, including:
Your healthcare provider may also ask questions to determine if you have another anxiety disorder. People with specific phobias may have other mental health conditions such as:
The goal of selenophobia treatment is to help you live a higher quality of life without disruptions. You might try:
There isn’t a guaranteed way to prevent selenophobia. But you may lessen the frequency or intensity of symptoms by living a healthy lifestyle, such as:
Many people who receive treatment overcome a fear of the moon. Others manage symptoms long-term. Most people find that, with treatment, they experience fewer disruptions to their everyday lives.
Without treatment, a specific phobia can increase your risks for:
Many people experience fewer and less frequent symptoms with proper phobia treatment. If you continue having anxiety symptoms or panic attacks, you might also learn coping strategies to help you manage symptoms, including:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Selenophobia is an intense fear of the moon. For some people, the phobia links to a fear of the dark or outer space. Fear of the moon may also stem from superstitions and folklore about the full moon. People with selenophobia may close blinds, refuse to look out windows or go to extreme lengths to avoid leaving the house at night. With treatment, many people overcome selenophobia symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/30/2022.
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