The Fear of Water (Aquaphobia)
Fear of water is a common phobic condition. People with aquaphobia have a strong fear or aversion to water.
They may even avoid swimming pools, lakes, rivers and oceans altogether. Aquaphobes are often reluctant to go near the ocean because they feel like there might be sharks lurking around them.
People suffering from aquaphobia are usually very embarrassed and ashamed when their friends or family members ask them if they’re okay. Some people don’t want anyone else to see them cry.
Others just don’t want to get into the water at all! Aquaphobes will often avoid going out in public places where other people gather, such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and so forth. They’ll avoid social situations completely until it’s time to leave.
It’s not uncommon for people suffering from aquaphobia to avoid going outside altogether. They may even try to stay inside during the day, but then they’ll head outside again at night.
If they do venture outdoors, they may become extremely anxious whenever someone approaches them and asks what’s wrong. When asked why they won’t say anything; instead, they’ll start crying hysterically and wailing loudly in pain. These episodes can be really embarrassing and uncomfortable for aquaphobes and the people around them.
Treating the Fear of Water (Aquaphobia)
The good news is, aquaphobia is a condition that can be treated and managed successfully with a little help. There are several ways to treat aquaphobia; which one is best will depend on what exactly is causing the phobia in the first place.
For instance, certain medications can be used to help someone cope with the fear of water. These drugs can be administered during inpatient therapy or even on an outpatient basis.
When combined with certain therapies, these drugs can really help someone get over their aquaphobia altogether.
Another popular strategy for treating aquaphobia is exposure therapy. This type of therapy involves slowly increasing the time that someone spends around water.
It may also involve getting someone into the water, even if they’re reluctant to do so. The therapist will work with the aquaphobe gradually increase their time in the water until they no longer feel anxious.
Many people can get relief from aquaphobia by using certain breathing techniques. These breathing exercises can help them manage their anxiety when they’re in or near the water.
It’s also important to address the deeper underlying issues that can cause aquaphobia. For some people it may be a traumatic experience they had as a child.
Others may have been emotionally abused or had some other type of negative experience with water when they were younger. If this is the case, the aquaphobe may need to see a therapist in order to work through these issues.
How to Help Someone with the Fear of Water (Aquaphobia)
If you know someone with aquaphobia, you can help them by encouraging them to seek therapy. The sooner the phobia is addressed, the sooner they can overcome it altogether.
If they’re reluctant to seek treatment for any reason, you may have to help them be motivated to do so. Try to remind them that they won’t feel anxious in public or around other people if they get the proper treatment.
As aquaphobia is a type of anxiety disorder, these individuals may also suffer from depression or other mood disorders. It’s very important to encourage them to seek help for these conditions if they have them as well.
As always, love and support can go a long way in helping someone with aquaphobia lead a normal life again.
Sources & references used in this article:
Aquaphobia and wellness tourism. by A Beylier – Cahiers Espaces, 2001 – cabdirect.org
Cognitive hypnotherapy for panic disorder with aquaphobia by SA Ajinkya – Sleep and Hypnosis, 2015 – oheg.org
Aquaphobia, Tulipmania, Biophilia: A Moral Geography of the Dutch Landscape by H Zwart – Understanding Nature: Case Studies in Comparative …, 2008 – Springer
TigerPrint s by M Ginting – 2015