Fear of Deep Water

Thalassophobia is a special phobia or severe dread of deep bodies, deep water, and huge bodies. The fear of being in deep or open water, as well as the manifestation of typical bodily symptoms such as chest tightness, perspiration, accelerated heartbeat, and so on, is frequent.

With so many people suffering from anxiety problems, seeking expert medical help should become more accepted in society.

By the conclusion of this article, you’ll be able to answer some of the most basic concerns, such as what fear of deep water or thalassophobia is, the symptoms and causes of fear of deep water, and how to overcome the fear of the deep sea. Let us begin with a definition of thalassophobia.

What Is Fear Of Deep Water (Thalassophobia)?

Thalassophobia is a strong aversion to vast and/or deep bodies of water, such as oceans, seas, and lakes. The term phobia derives from the Greek words phobia (fear) and thalasso (sea).

Thalassophobia should not be confused with aquaphobia, which is a far broader fear of water, including showers, baths, and even drinking water.

Causes Of Thalassophobia

A variety of things may contribute to this fear of deep water and the sea. Thalassophobia, like other forms of phobias, is most likely caused by a mix of nature and upbringing.


Evolution and genetics may both have a role in nature. Our forefathers who were more careful and scared of deep bodies of water were likely to survive and pass on these fearful genes to their descendants.

Past Experiences

This fear may have been partially taught as a result of previous encounters with water. Being scared by anything while swimming, for example, might also be a source of this form of terror.


Observing other individuals, particularly parental figures and other significant adults, who have a fear of deep water might also be an influence.

Other Risk Factors

You may acquire a fear of deep water as a result of one or more things. A person’s chance of developing a specific phobia, such as thalassophobia, is also increased by a variety of risk factors. Some examples are

  • If someone in your family has a certain phobia, you are more likely to develop one as well. This might be due to heredity or exposure to the individual with fear.
  • People who have certain phobias are more sensitive and anxious. They may be hesitant to take chances or have a generally pessimistic attitude.
  • Knowing someone who perished in deep water or seeing a horrific occurrence in deep water might cause thalassophobia.

Signs and Symptoms of Thalassophobia

Unlike aquaphobia, which is a fear of any type or amount of water, thalassophobia is a persistent, acute dread of deep, generally dark, bodies of water and what is under the surface. Fear might arise from the concept of an unknown marine creature swimming under you in the deep sea, a deep river, a vast lake, or any other deep body of water, or just from knowing how deep, and black the water you’re in is.

A person suffering from thalassophobia may feel both physical and emotional symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

 Thalassophobia can cause the following physical symptoms:

  • High heart rate
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Breathing problems
  • Rapid inhalation
  • Mouth dryness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shaking
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Emotional Symptoms

Thalassophobia’s emotional symptoms are can be equally as disturbing, and they include:

  • Avoiding being near sources of water
  • Panic
  • Being anxious
  • wishing to flee
  • Feeling overburdened
  • Extreme, acute, and unexpected dread or anxiety
  • Fear of losing control

Even gazing at photographs or thinking about a watery expanse might trigger symptoms. The prospect of being far from shore when on the ocean might be frightening. Most people who experience this phobia are terrified, uncomfortable, and uneasy near any huge body of water – it doesn’t have to be the ocean.

Treatments For Thalassophobia

Thalassophobia, if left untreated, can severely impair a person’s life. A person suffering from thalassophobia may experience heightened anxiety and abandon formerly cherished hobbies such as going to the beach with friends and family, boating, swimming, viewing particular movies, and so on.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a common and successful treatment option for particular phobias, such as the fear of deep water. This treatment entails exposing a person to their feared stimuli at escalating intensities until fear is eradicated.

Looking at photographs of the water may be the first step for someone suffering from thalassophobia. Later, the individual may watch movies about the ocean or deep water. Eventually, the client will be exposed to the ocean or a pool as part of the treatment. The person learns that the feared stimulus is not hazardous through controlled exposure. When this occurs, patients will be able to correlate it with more favorable results.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a kind of psychotherapy. It is beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of anxiety disorders, including particular phobias.

CBT teaches people about their thinking patterns and behavioral reactions. They can modify their thinking and, as a result, their behaviors and feelings as a result of this revelation. CBT is frequently used in conjunction with exposure therapy to treat phobias such as thalassophobia. Some patients, however, may prefer CBT over exposure treatment since it causes less early distress.


It can be used to treat in extreme circumstances. This is frequently done in conjunction with other forms of treatment or for specific conditions. For example, if you have thalassophobia and are going on a boat, you may take medicine to manage your symptoms while participating in the activity.

Coping Up Fear Of Deep Water

The following approaches have been proven to be beneficial in dealing with thalassophobia – and remember, the more you employ them, the greater their effects can grow.

Deep breathing

The deep breathing exercises are beneficial since they can be performed anywhere. Take a deep, long breath, hold it for a moment, and then gently exhale. Repeat this breathing method until you see your body softening and relaxing.


Visualization is a method for your mind to help you face and overcome your anxieties. You could picture yourself successfully traversing deep seas without panicking. This is something you should do with a therapist for the greatest outcomes.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive muscle relaxation is a simple method that can be tremendously beneficial during times of severe stress or anxiety. It’s proven to be beneficial for folks who suffer from panic attacks. PMR is a type of workout in which you increase and then release tension in certain parts of your body. It can assist to relax or quiet your thoughts and ease mental or physical stress.

Self-help Exposure

Self-help exposure via visualization can help you address many of your anxieties, including thalassophobia. Consider yourself beside a small body of water. To calm yourself, use any of the relaxation techniques you’ve mastered. Then, gradually envision yourself being exposed to greater and larger bodies of water. You may eventually discover that your tolerance grows and your dread fades.

Complications of Thalassophobia

Thalassophobia can produce significant anxiety when exposed to particular triggers, but this is not the only influence it can have on your life. Long-term, untreated thalassophobia can lead to a variety of mental health issues.

Panic Disorder

Panic attacks can occur in people who have specific phobias. These panic attacks can be incapacitating and hazardous. Panic attacks caused by thalassophobia are especially dangerous since experiencing a panic episode in or near deep water might result in drowning.


Studies have discovered a substantial association between certain phobias and the later development of other diseases such as generalized anxiety disorder and severe depression.

Isolation and Loneliness

People who suffer from certain phobias may isolate themselves to avoid triggering situations. If you suffer from thalassophobia, you may avoid any social engagement that takes place near water, such as swimming pools or going to the beach. In severe circumstances, you should avoid watching movies set near water. This avoidance might result in decreased social engagement, which can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Substance Misuse

According to research, persons with anxiety disorders, such as particular phobias, may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

The Ending Note

Thalassophobia is a specialized fear of deep water. Irrational concerns about certain stimuli that are disproportionate to the real risk are known as specific phobias.

When approaching deep water, those who have thalassophobia may experience a panic attack. A photo of the beach or a swimming pool may be enough to set off symptoms in extreme instances. Therapy can help with the fear of deep water. Treatment generally entails gradually exposing the patient to the triggering stimuli.

Specific phobias, such as thalassophobia, are prevalent and easily treated. Talk to your healthcare practitioner or a trusted friend or family member if your fear of deep water is interfering with your quality of life. Rather than avoiding water, exposing yourself to it can help reduce your fears, especially if done under the supervision of a mental health professional.

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