What is fear of deep water also called? (+5 Coping strategies)

In this blogpost, we will be discussing what the fear of deep water is also called. We will also be checking out the symptoms of this fear, its actual causes and the various ways of getting over this particular phobia.

What is fear or deep water also called?

Fear of deep water is also called Thalassophobia. Thalassophobia not just refers to fear of deep water but also fear of large bodies of water like oceans. Because a person has Thalassophobia, it can lead them to avoiding places and events which revolve around deep water.

Symptoms of Thalassophobia

Thalassophobia can present itself in a number of ways which can differ in level and intensity from person to person. The main signs and symptoms of Thalassophobia have been listed as follows,

  • A constant avoidance of large water bodies, particularly those where the bottom cannot be seen like the ocean
  • A feeling of anxiety and fear when near a large water body
  • An avoidance of activities related to large water bodies like boating, jet skiing, or even playing near the beach
  • Experiencing restlessness and palpitations when seeing pictures of large water bodies or while gong near one
  • Getting sweaty when near a large body of water or even thinking about deep water places like the ocean

Causes of Thalassophobia

Thalassophobia can be caused by numerous factors, but mainly some type of traumatic incident in the past. The main causes of Thalassophobia have been discussed in the following section,

Traumatic incidents related to water

The most common reason why a person may develop Thalassophobia is because of certain traumatic incidents related to water. For instance, if a person was about to drown in a large water body, they might develop a fear of similar places in the future.

The traumatic incident does not necessarily have to be experienced personally, but can also be phobia-inducing if the person has witnessed someone have an accident near a water body or in a water-body.

Certain types of parenting styles

Many traumas and phobias can also be caused by certain parenting styles. If parents often threaten their children with something related to water or a water body, the child may develop Thalassophobia later in life.

Transfer of fear from something else

Sometimes, having a fear of something in particular can transfer to another object, such as a water body. This might be hard to understand at first but can be uncovered by therapy through psychoanalysis and introspection.

Receiving shocking news related to water bodies

Watching or hearing news about something related to water bodies can also instill feelings of Thalassophobia in people. For example, if someone hears about drowning or watching news of flooding can also create a phobia of large water bodies.

Experiencing a panic attack

Panic attacks can occur anywhere and anytime and in case one occurs near a water body or an activity related to water, it can create feelings of Thalassophobia in the person. This is even if the person has had a healthy relationship with water bodies before.

How to cope with Thalassophobia?

Having Thalassophobia can be crippling for many people since it can limit the social life of the person in many ways. In many extreme cases, Thalassophobia can also make the person fear daily activities like showering and bathing.

Thalassophobia, while severely anxiety-inducing in many people, can also be treated through a number of ways. Some coping skills and strategies that people can use to work around and heal their Thalassophobia are listed as follows,

Antidepressants and SSREs

If the Thalassophobia is too intense for a person, they will mostly be recommended antidepressants or SSREs which focus on improving serotonin levels in the body. These medications need to be prescribed by a mental health professional.

While these medications may not be immediately prescribed for feelings of Thalassophobia, they might be prescribed if this phobia is interfering with their daily activities such as personal hygiene or even chores.

Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most prescribed form of psychotherapy for all types of phobias, including Thalassophobia. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you will learn how to create new positive cognitive patterns in your mind as a response to trauma.

Apart from teaching you positive cognitive patterns, therapy sessions can also increase your awareness of the actual sources of your problems in the first place. When you know more about the reasons for your issues, you will be able to deal with them better.

Try Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy is most recommended for phobias and it basically makes the person face their fears in small amounts until they are completely comfortable with it. This type of therapy needs to be provided by a trained and licensed mental health professional.

Create a coping skill set

While medications and therapies work on treating the actual cause of your Thalassophobia, you can also create a coping skill set of different helpful strategies to cope with your phobia and anxiety. A few of these coping skills and strategies have been shared in the following section:

  • Deep breathing is perhaps the best coping skill that you can use whenever you are feeling anxious because of your Thalassophobia. You can also use breathing exercises when you are trying to slowly expose yourself to phobia-inducing stimuli like deep water.

There are many breathing exercises which you can use like abdominal breathing and even colorful breathing. Some people also tend to use devices and straws to help with their breathing exercises.

  • Apart from deep breathing, you can also try practicing a strong self-care routine. Self-care and self-love will help in building up our self-esteem and your self-confidence so that you are better mentally-prepared when you are going through any anxiety.
  • Self-care routines can differ from person to person and you can make it as personalized as you wish to. For instance, you can include activities like regular physical exercise, skin-care activities and even cheat meals as a form of treats.
  • Another great coping strategy that you can use is journaling where you write down your daily thoughts and feelings. Through journaling, you will be able to healthily vent your stressful feelings and emotions which can definitely decrease your anxiety levels.

Journaling as an activity can also be a part of your therapy process and you can share the contents of your journal with your therapist. Journaling can not only help in healthy venting but can also help you keep a record of your feelings of anxiety.

  • You can also try mindfulness activities which can bring you into the now or help you improve your zen. Mindfulness can be practiced through so many ways, including meditation, spending time in nature and or taking a walk outside.

Some people also try changing their stimuli to bring them in to the now as part of their mindfulness exercises. For instance, running your hands under cold water or even walking barefoot on grass can help you be more mindful.

  • Another way to cope with Thalassophobia is to become a part of a support group. Support groups can be found online or even physically but can give you a lot of resources to use as coping strategies and even other people to lean on for emotional support.

If you cannot find a classified support group near you, you can also try joining an online forum where you can discuss your problems with others and also read about what they are going through.


In this blogpost, we have discussed what the fear of deep water is also called. We have also checked out the symptoms of this fear, its actual causes and the various ways of getting over this particular phobia.

If you like this blogpost, please leave your comments and questions in the space below.



Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!