Water Phobia (Aquaphobia): Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

Water phobia or aquaphobia is a fairly common specific phobia, as all of them can vary drastically in severity from person to person. Some people only fear deep water or strong waves, while others fear swimming pools and bathtubs. Some fear going into the water, while others cannot even look at a large amount of water.

Occasionally, the phobia of water is so pervasive and abnormal that just splashing or spraying a person with it can cause a panic reaction.

Aquaphobia is an abnormal and persistent fear, panic, terror of water. Those who suffer from it experience anxiety even when they realize that the water in an ocean, lake, stream, or even a bathtub may not be an imminent threat and they even give up bathing.

Causes of water phobia

The most common cause is a negative experience, if you have been through a close drowning, shipwreck or other terrifying occurrence in the water, you are more likely to develop this type of phobia.

Learning to swim is a rite of passage for many children, and frightening experiences are common, the way these situations are handled plays an important role in determining whether a phobia will occur.

The negative experience doesn’t necessarily have to happen to you specifically, they just don’t like not knowing what else is in the water, worrying about sharks or other sea creatures, or having regained the fear of one of their parents.

Drowning stories, movies, incidents or news reports, etc., can also instill a deep sense of fear of water.

Symptoms of water phobia

People with aquaphobia tend to show the following symptoms:

  • They try to avoid water at all costs.
  • They may experience anxiety or panic attacks at the thought of facing the water.
  • Victims often have poor hygiene, avoiding taking baths for long periods of time.
  • Upon seeing the water, they begin to hyperventilate; you have higher blood pressure and heart rate or shallow breathing.
  • They may pass out when they see the water.
  • Sweating, shaking, crying, shaking, and other signs of loss of control are common in aquaphobic individuals.

Symptoms vary depending on the degree and extent of the phobia. Some patients are not even aware of their phobia and their mind unconsciously presents creative ways to avoid water rather than face embarrassment or experience emotional distress.

How to treat aquaphobia?

Like almost all specific phobias , the water phobia works very well and responds very effectively to treatment.

The cognitive-behavioral therapy is especially popular, he will teach you to replace negative self -talk with more positive messages and learn new behaviors to overcome your fear.

You may be given homework assignments, like filling the bathtub with a few inches of water and getting in, or visiting the ocean while staying safely on shore. Over time, a series of small successes will build your confidence and allow you to gradually add new water-related activities.

If your phobia is severe, you can make the decision to use drugs, hypnosis  ( hypnotherapy ) and other types of therapy to help control fear.

The goal is to make you comfortable in the water, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment that works for everyone. However, with the help of an expert therapist, aquaphobia can be successfully managed and even overcome.

Tips to overcome water phobia

Work with an experienced lifeguard and swimming knowledge and instruction. Talk to the instructor before your / your child’s lesson about the fear of water and ask what strategies he or she uses to help someone overcome the fear of water .

Start slowly and be patient with yourself in our attempts. You can start by simply being near a pool, working to sit on the pool side with your feet in the water, give yourself time to get used to and feel comfortable every step of the way.

Understand the buoyancy factor. Humans will always float on or near the top of the water, this is based on bone and body density. Understanding that you will not sink and that your body will naturally rise to the surface of the water can help you overcome your fear of drowning or sinking to the bottom of the pool and not being able to rise to the surface.

Practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises to help keep your body relaxed while in the water. Take the time to walk in the water feeling the relaxation and calming effects of the water.

Start floating in shallow water. It can be easier when you know that you can put your feet down and stand up.

Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and accept that overcoming your fear is a process and a journey, rather than hoping to overcome your fear in a single trip to the pool.

Take swimming lessons to learn the basics of swimming, floatation, and attention to water safety.

Remember never to swim alone. Swimming alone is never a safe idea, even if you are embarrassed by your fears and you think it would be easier to overcome your anxiety without anyone else being present, it is important to have someone qualified and able to react in an emergency situation with you as you discover the joys of swimming and relaxing in the water.

Georgia Tarrant
 | Website

Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.