Fear of water

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What is the name of the fear of water?
The fear of water is called aquaphobia or hydrophobia. It is a collective term that reflects any variation of the disorder. For the vast majority of people, this fear is realized only when swimming in open water, but there may be more exotic forms of phobia:

  • batophobia – anxiety about swimming in deep water;
  • dipsophobia – a serious disorder in which a person is afraid to drink water;
  • ablutophobia – a disorder that provokes fear during various hygiene procedures;
  • potamophobia – fear of rivers or seas with strong currents, fear of falling into whirlpools;
  • thalassophobia – fear of the seas;
  • limnophobia – fear of lakes;
  • ombrophobia – fear of rain, falling into the rain;
  • chionophobia – fear of snowfalls, snow;
  • antlophobia – a phobia about floods.

The manifestations of these phobias are somehow associated with water and have similar symptoms.

Causes of Water Fear in Adults
Any form of phobia can develop under the influence of both psychological and physical factors. Usually, psychological factors are formed in childhood and are consolidated as they grow up. Possible influences such as:

  • the death of relatives in the water in front of a child;
  • swimming training in extreme form, if there is a strong fear or injury;
  • violence against a child using water;
  • burns, frostbite, pain from water;
  • convulsions if the child was swimming.

Childhood psychotrauma may not be directly related to water, but indirectly. For example, during the rain, parents died, parents quarreled near a reservoir, contact with icy water during a conflict.

In adults, fear of water can develop when a person becomes a victim of natural disasters related to water (avalanches, disasters, floods). Plus, in impressionable people, the psyche can suffer from watching scenes from horror films with sharks, floods, and violence in the water.

Phobias may occur after accidents – choking with water with throat pathologies, coughing, muscle tone disorders, aspiration of water into the bronchi and lungs when the help of doctors was required.

Symptoms of fear of water in adults
The main manifestation of a phobia is a panic fear of water as such or a certain form of it (reservoirs, showers, drinking water). The manifestations of aquaphobia can be in the form of:

  • increased anxiety when taking fluids, bathing, going into the water, or contact with water;
  • refusal to perform routine hygiene procedures, a categorical refusal to swim in water bodies;
  • increased anxiety, irritability, aggression while on the beach, in other places where there is water;
  • panic when exposed to rain or snow;
  • obsessive thoughts about a possible tragedy associated with water.

People with different types of aquaphobia constantly fantasize about various tragic, dangerous scenarios associated with different types of contact with water.
The physical manifestations of a phobia are nonspecific. These include:

  • palpitations with a sharp rise in pressure;
  • sweating, the stickiness of the skin;
  • chills and tremors in the body;
  • breathing disorders;
  • dry mouth, loss of voice;
  • convulsions, confusion, fainting;
  • tinnitus;
  • the cold snap, numbness of the limbs, muscle pain;
  • disorientation.

In severe cases, contact with water leads to panic attacks.

Treatment for water phobia in adults
Aquaphobia can significantly disrupt a person’s life, especially in an advanced form. In this case, the help of a specialist is needed to reduce the severity of manifestations both at the level of the psyche and the physical body.

The basis for the diagnosis of water phobia is a conversation with a patient, the identification of specific symptoms that are directly related to water in its specific form or form. When combined with the appearance of panic attacks, anxiety, or signs of depression, additional tests are needed.

Modern methods of treatment
The doctor can use psychotherapy in the treatment of phobia, sometimes supplementing it with medication. During psychotherapeutic sessions, techniques are used that will be most effective for certain symptoms. Sessions can be conducted individually and in a group. In the second case, patients with similar problems are trained to effectively deal with internal discomfort in certain situations. Visualization techniques can be used, with the viewing of pictures or videos with the objects of their fear, in order to gradually overcome themselves.

With strong autonomic reactions or anxiety, sedatives, tranquilizing, antipsychotic drugs are prescribed.

Prevention of water fear in adults at home
The basis of all preventive measures is a full-fledged upbringing without the formation of various fears in childhood. It is important to avoid psycho-traumatic situations associated with water – swimming in deep and dangerous bodies of water, extreme swimming training.

Are complications possible with the fear of water, does it affect the ability to work, does it threaten with disability, death?
This phobia does not directly lead to disability and death, but it can create situations that are dangerous to life and health. For example, a panic attack while boating or swimming can trigger an accident.

In addition, the fear of water can limit a person’s activity, especially in the case when the phobia provokes problems with hygiene, restricts access to the street, and work in certain specialties.

Which doctor should I go to with such a problem, is it possible to cure yourself?
In mild cases, clinical psychologists can come to the rescue; in more serious situations, work with a psychiatrist or psychotherapist is needed. It is also possible to combat phobias on your own, under the guidance of a doctor online.

Can the fear of water be cured with traditional remedies?
It is not worth using various dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and alternative medicine. They have no proven effectiveness, and in some cases they can even complicate the situation, forming unpleasant side effects.


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