Fear of Drowning


The fear of drowning is closely related to the general fear of water, which is known as Aquaphobia. This fear type can make it nearly impossible to enjoy swimming either as a spectator or participant. It is believed that this fear is almost always linked to a previous unpleasant experience related to swimming.

Listing the Causes

The usual suspects apply in this case. A near drowning can cause a healthy respect for water into something that is extremely debilitating. Observing or even hearing of someone drowning can plant fear seeds that bloom into a full-blown phobia. However, you may not know that watching television shows that feature drowning or underwater attacks can also contribute significantly to these fears. Being in close proximity to a known or unknown body of water can also cause the aquaphobe acute anxiety.

Signs of Aquaphobia

An aquaphobe may have difficulties observing a clear glass or pitcher of water. They may have trouble with bathtubs or hot tubs. They can’t enjoy garden ponds or marine exhibits. They will never purchase a swimsuit and a trip to the ocean will provide an incredible sense of dread and panic.

Here are some other common symptoms.

  • High anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • The sense that if they enter the water they WILL drown
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Unnatural desire to flee

Overcoming your fear of drowning

There may be very little in the way of phobia prevention. What I mean by that is your fears may start as innocent encounters little thought of by you or others. In those down times, dream filled nights and casual observances a mild fear can become something unmanageable on your own.

One of the best ways to overcome your fear of water, swimming and drowning is to have someone you trust work with you on taking small steps toward recovery. They might simply help you endure the task of visiting a beach without going into the water or dangling your legs in a water while sitting on the side of the pool.  This individual will not make fun of you and will not rush you, but they will consistently bring you back to a point of focus when you begin to have a sense of panic that threatens to overwhelm you.

This can also be accomplished through paid therapy sessions in more severe cases. Hypnotherapy and behavior therapy can help although for this phobia. Medication is usually not recommended because of the reflexes needed for swimming.

It is believed that with this therapy one of the best treatments may be in finding the original source of the fear and working through what beliefs about that original fear are correct and which ones are false. If the Aquaphobe can rationally understand the irrationality of their fear, and that the fear itself was based on wrong information they can begin to retrain their mind to accept the truth. Once that truth is accepted they can begin acting on the truth in small steps.

The fear of drowning is a relevant fear, but it doesn’t need to be debilitating. You can overcome your fear, and there is no shame in seeking help.

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