Thalassophobia Is The Abnormal Persistent And Irrational Fear Of The Sea Or Large Deep And Dark Bodies Of Water
Do you suffer from this phobia? How do you know you have it?
For some people, the ocean is a terrifying place – it makes them uneasy, nervous, unsettled, and anxious.
They could’ve been born with the feeling of not wanting to be near or in the ocean, or it might be something you never knew you had and only discovered later in life.
The fear of the ocean is something that can make us feel really uncomfortable. Because we’re land creatures, we tend to be cautious about the still unknown water world.
In extreme cases, people develop an anxiety disorder. And, believe it or not, phobias are among the most common mental illnesses in modern societies.
How Is Aquaphobia Diagnosed
Doctors use the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to help them diagnose mental health conditions.
Currently, the DSM-5 doesnt have a specific diagnosis or category for aquaphobia. Instead, it identifies a fear of water under the diagnosis for specific phobia.
If you suspect you have aquaphobia, make an appointment with your doctor. Theyll be able to refer you to a mental health specialist who can diagnose and treat your phobia.
Based on the criteria from the DSM-5, a mental health specialist will likely diagnose aquaphobia if you have experienced the symptoms listed above for at least six months.
Part of the diagnosis also includes ruling out other mental health conditions, such as:
Talking Treatments For Thalassophobia
Talking treatments or talking therapies, which include counselling, might be very effective at treating fear of sea, sea travel, being in large bodies of water, fear of the vast emptiness of the sea, of sea waves, and fear of distance from land or Thalassophobia. Talking therapies are very laid back treatments and physically non intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. There are many different types of talking therapy, but they all aim to:
- help you recognise unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them .
- help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
- help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
- give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who wont judge you
Talking therapies are in most cases the same as counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, talking treatment. There is usually a very little difference between whats meant when talking about any of these.
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When To See A Specialist
If gephyrophobia is taking over your everyday life for example, if youre going out of your way to avoid driving over bridges or you cant visit friends because you have to cross a bridge to get there then seeking professional treatment can help. If this phobia is associated with GAD or other phobias, then treating the entire cluster can have a significant effect on your overall mental health.
Some phobias can lead to phobophobia, a fear of your phobia. This fear of fear can trickle into your everyday life, even when you arent crossing bridges. Worrying about having a panic attack can affect how you feel in general. Prolonged anxiety can have adverse effects on your mental and physical health.
Some people with gephyrophobia benefit from anxiety-reducing medication. Others benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy . CBT focuses on discovering troublesome thought patterns that lead to the phobia and providing conscious cues to redirect thoughts in a healthier way.
If your phobia is causing you problems outside the physical act of crossing a bridge, then speak with a professional counselor or your health care provider.
Start Slowly And Be Patient
Just because someone confronted their fear in only a few sessions doesnt mean itll take you similar attempts to overcome yours.
We all learn things differently, and what worked for someone else may not work for you.
Work on just being close to a pool and graduate to sitting on its side and dipping your feet into the water.
Give yourself enough time to get accustomed to the water and feel confident around it.
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How Common Is Aquaphobia
In one epidemiological study that gathered data from 22 countries with different income status, it was found that the prevalence of Aquaphobia across these countries was 2.3%.
Moreover, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 19 million people suffer from the fear of water phobia in the United States alone, with a clear predominance of women.
The numbers vary between countries, but fear of water phobia is still considered one of the most common types of specific phobias.
What Causes Fear Of Water
Aquaphobia is usually triggered by a past traumatic experience with or in water.
Someone might have almost drowned, been pushed in to a pool or the sea. or fallen off a boat or deck.
Others simply don’t like not knowing what else is in the water with them, be worried about sharks or other sea creatures, or have simply picked up a fear from one of their parents.
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How Thalassophobia Compares With A Fear Of Water
Therein lies the real issue: a fear of water is often triggered by a singular incident, such as nearly drowning or even being shipwrecked. A fear of deep water, however, is fuelled by your imagination. In short, there is no limit to what could be in the murky depths below.
Its important to note that the fear doesnt just apply to the sea: any lake or body of water that is too deep to see the bottom will induce the same response.
Theres nothing to be ashamed if you realize you have thalassophobia. The truth is, humans are not usually great swimmers. Combine this fact with a natural fear of darkness, a fear of deep water is not only unsurprising, but also understandable.
Thoughts On Aquaphobia: The Fear Of Water
Interesting post! I completely understand this fear. My sixth-grade English teacher lost his father in an ocean accident. Ever since my teacher recounted this heart-wrenching story to us, I have never approached the ocean in the same way. It truly is a beast to be feared. Im glad to know that there are some ways to combat this phobia.
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Does This Picture Scare The Hell Out Of You
Do you get a morbid sense of dread deep in the pit of your stomach when you think about how vastand deepand darkthe ocean is?
Have you ever had a nightmare where youre standing on a beach minding your own business, when suddenly you look up and realize a hundred-foot tidal wave is cresting right over your head?
Does the thought of being surrounded by sharks and whales and giant squid and giant jellyfish and all sorts of ugly crabs and eels and glow-in-the-dark deep-sea monsters all adrift in an endless black watery expanse have you clutching your blankets and screaming out for your mommy?
If you answered Yes to any or all of these questions, you might suffer from thalassophobia.
How Can I Get Over My Fear Of Drowning
Like any type of fear, the fear of drowning has some rationality to it I mean its a survival response by the body to try and keep us alive.
However, when this fear goes too far, it becomes problematic. What you need to do is try to reset your brain and convince it that youre not in imminent danger.
This can be done by exposure therapy, where you get exposed to water gradually until your brain realizes that you are not in danger and that youre actually having fun!
You can first start by making your feet wet then maybe go deeper each time. Perhaps next time splash your face with some water while going deeper.
This process is preferably done in a swimming pool, where you can stay next to the wall and have swimming coaches around you to provide help if you need it.
This might seem cliché, but the best way to get over your fear is by facing it.
How To Overcome Fear Of Swimming In Deep Water
To help get over your fear of swimming in deep water, you want to prepare yourself both physically and mentally.
While the below guidance can be helpful to some we know that there is a broad spectrum when it comes to fear.
Take our advice with a grain of salt.
We are surfers and board sport enthusiasts, not psychiatrists.
If the below is helpful, great.
If not, feel free to disregard it and start at an appropriate place for yourself such as seeking professional mental help.
What Are The Symptoms Of Thalassophobia
If anything Ive described so far makes you feel a little queasy, thats the surest sign that you might be a wee bit of a thalassophobe.
In more extreme cases, you might avoid large bodies of water altogether.
You might obsessively think of horrifying deep-sea scenarios and find yourself unable to brush them from your mind.
You might experience a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and profuse sweating at the mere idea of a baby barracuda brushing up against you while you wade in shallow water down at the beach. In extreme cases, you might vomit, get dizzy, and launch into a full-blown panic attack.
This is seasickness, all rightbut not from the seas movements, from the seas very existence.
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What Does Thalassophobia Feel Like
On the Reddit group /r/thalassophobia, people with a morbid dread of the deep, dark ocean bond together and discuss exactly what creeps them the hell out about, well, most of the planet, since most of the planet is covered in water.
In a form of self-torture/shock therapy, they also post the skeeviest photos of giant whales and tidal waves and bottomless watery graves in what is superficially supposed to be a way of confronting their fears, but maybe they just like scaring themselves and cant admit it.
Here are some of their firsthand descriptions of why the sea makes them feel sick:
Probably something about the uncertainty of what is beneath you, full on knowing that there are things with teeth waiting to eat you alive. I call it the fish flake feeling. where youre just floating on the top of the surface waiting for some abyssal, abysmal beast to suck you into its fanged maw. Maj391
I had a panic attack in the ocean too. A massive fish swam under me and my brother had to haul me out before I drowned. I also looked over the edge of the great barrier reef once while snorkling. do not recommend. Sonja_Blu
You know, most people here mention not being able to see the bottom but what really gets me some times is being at the bottom at say 20m or so and looking up and seeing the vast volume of water above you! Freedive Expert
The Ocean Is Very Deep And Very Dark Does That Scare You
When you swim in the ocean, do you avoid going out too far in the water? Do you think there are monstrous sea creatures underneath? Chances are, if you have a fear of deep water, you suffer from a phobia called thalassophobia. Dont worry if you havent heard of this here are other strange phobias you didnt know existed.
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What Celebrities Sufferer From Aquaphobia
Andi Peters overcame his fear of water to go snorkelling in the Maldives while plugging a GMB competition.
He’s not the only star who has battled their aquaphobia.
Baywatch star Carmen Electra was forced to tackle her fears ahead of her starring role in Baywatch, and Winona Ryder sought help ahead of her under water scene in Alien: Resurrection.
How To Overcome Aquaphobia
Having an innate and intense fear of water is a real problem among children and adults alike but it is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, in most cases, being water phobic is completely justified. Nonetheless, fear is not healthy for your mind and body. Regardless of what triggers your anxiety to shoot off the charts, intense fear of anything is considered a mental health issue and, therefore, must be dealt with immediately.
Here are some of the most effective ways to get rid of the fear of water:
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Thalassophobia Fear Of Sea Sea Travel Large Bodies Of Water Emptiness Of Sea
Thalassophobia belongs to the specific phobia category. Thalassophobia is the intense fear and anxiety that follows it, of deep water which include the ocean or the sea. The difference between aquaphobia and this phobia is that people that suffer from aquaphobia are afraid from water itself. While on the other hand, people that suffer from thalassophobia are afraid of the dangers that migh involve being in the water. Such as not knowing what creatures might live under the surface, or distance from land.
This phobia is not classified as a distinct disorder by the DSM-5, the diagnostic manual of mental disorder used by psychiatrists. Studies show, that statistically speaking, phobias related to water are more common among woman.
Medical Definition Of Hydrophobia
- Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Reviewed on 3/29/2021
Hydrophobia:1. Literally, an irrational fear of water, to drink or to swim in. Someone who is scared of the water is hydrophobic. 2. A term once commonly used for rabies because in the later stages of that disease, the animal has difficulty swallowing and so fears a drink of water.
From hydro-, water + –phobia, fear.
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Possible Treatments For Thalassophobia
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective treatments for thalassophobia.
Cognitive behavioral therapy works by teaching patients how to recognize disturbing thought patterns and turn them into positive ones.
Its essentially about reprogramming the brain and it is a proven strategy that works for many mental disorders, including anxiety disorders and phobias.
Exposure therapy has also shown to be effective, although its far more controversial than cognitive behavioral therapy and may not work for everyone.
It also needs to be managed very carefully, as it entails exposing the patient to their fear in a safe and gentle way, allowing them to get over it.
The idea is that the more they enter the sea or go near it, the more they will realize there is nothing to fear.
Exposure therapy has also been used in a virtual reality setting, providing the patient with the comfort and safety of knowing that they arent actually near the sea while simultaneously placing them in a virtual world that represents their fear.
Relaxation techniques, including meditation and deep breathing, may also help, although it really all depends on the severity of the phobia.
In severe cases when the patient is displaying many physical symptoms, medication can be prescribed.
SSRIs, often used to treat depression, have been shown to be effective, as have beta-blockers, which can reduce the heart rate much like the relaxation techniques mentioned above.
Related Questions Answered On Yanswers
- If I fear water like the sea coz of its vastness and I dont know whats under, do you call it a phobia?
- Q: If yes, what do you call it? Is it more of a fear of the unknown or water? And also is there a phobia such as fear of the loud uh rumbling of water?
- A: aquaphobia-fear of water
- Whats the phobia name for fear of Dark water?
- Q: Ive noticed lately that i can go swimming but only if the water is not dark, Like if im in a swimming pool at a leisure centre i cannot swim to parts that look dark. I do not like the thought of not being able to see whats under me or around me in dark water. Whats this phobia called?
- A: hyperchromohydrophobiaI made that up- It really doesnt have an official name. I feel the same way about about pools. They must appear very clean, light, and inviting before I even stick a toe inNyctohylophobia does not mean fear of dark water. It acutually means fear of dark wooded areas, of forests at night.Check it out on google!!!
- Whats the phobia called of fear of getting water in your ears??
- Q: I cant find it!If it is a phobia, I have that & I wan to know the name of it.Please helpp!:)
- A: I am sorry, but I couldnt find your phobia. Although I could find phobias related to wet ears:Water- HydrophobiaMoisture, dampness or liquids- HygrophobiaOcean or sea- Thalassophobia
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How To Treat Aquaphobia: 7 Tried And Tested Approaches
If you experience the above symptoms, its advisable that you see a mental health specialist.
Being a specific phobia, aquaphobia will usually respond to treatment pretty well.
The most common treatment for aquaphobia is psychotherapy:
Lets dig a little bit into these...
Thalassophobia: How To Deal With Fear Of The Ocean
Are you afraid of being in or around large bodies of dark water? Perhaps this fear prevents you from going too far out while in an expansive lake or makes your heart drop into your stomach when thinking about all that exists beneath the waters surface. Because water is an important part of enjoying a lot of new experiences whether a cruise, a trip to the beach, or a visit to a tropical island this anxiety can have a negative impact on your quality of life.
If this fear rings true, you may be suffering from a common phobia called thalassophobia. Although the name is long and complicated, the description is pretty simple it is defined as the persistent fear of vast, deep and often dark bodies of water, which to us humans often feels dangerous. In particular, thalassophobia describes a persons fear of the great unknown right below their feet. To better understand this phobia and help manage its symptoms, it is imperative to gain a solid understanding of its causes and treatment.
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