Thalassophobia: a fear of ocean

Thalassophobia is a strong aversion to vast water bodies like the ocean. If you have thalassophobia, you may be terrified of the ocean, sea, and vast lakes. Some people may feel anxious about swimming in the ocean. Fear of the sea, on the other hand, might be a significant issue for some people. You may have thalassophobia if you are afraid of the sea so much that it gets in the way of your daily life.

The Causes of Thalassophobia:

Whereas aquaphobia is a fear of water, thalassophobia is a dread of large, dark, deep, and deadly bodies of water. People are more terrified of what is beneath the water’s surface than of the water itself.

While the DSM-5, the diagnostic manual of mental disorders used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, does not identify thalassophobia as a distinct disorder, its symptoms may fit under the diagnostic criteria for particular phobias.

Thalassophobia is a sort of specialized phobia that occurs in natural settings. One of the most common types of phobias is a fear of nature. Some studies suggest that women are more likely to be afraid of water than men.

Thalassophobia: a fear of ocean

A number of reasons may contribute to this fear of the water and sea. Some major factors that can cause thalassophobia are as follows:

  • Hereditary:

Evolution and genetics may have a function to play in nature. Our forefathers, who were more afraid of deep bodies of water, were more likely to survive and pass on these sacred genes to their progeny.

  • Previous bad memories:

This phobia may have been partly learned as a consequence of some bad experiences with water. Being scared by something while swimming, boating, or rafting, for example, could be a source of this form of anxiety.

  • Nurturing:

Experiencing other people, particularly parental figures and other significant adults, who were similarly afraid of deep water could be a cause.


When you have a phobia Like a fear of the ocean, you may experience an intense fear of something even when it does not pose a threat to you. Your body may react to seeing or being near a large body of water by causing severe anxiety symptoms.

A phobia is a psychological condition. Thalassophobia symptoms can be similar to anxiety symptoms. Some common symptoms are as follows:

  • Nervousness
  • Uneasiness
  • feeling anxious
  • Unfocused
  • Mood swings
  • Sweating
  • Chest pains
  • An increased heart rate.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shivering or shaking.
  • Pain or distress.
  • A sense of impending doom.
  • Stomach aches,
  • Chills, or hot flashes.
  • Sleeping challenges

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Some people may think that thalassophobia is just a disconcerting fear, but it can make life hard for those who have it. These complications can eventually have a wide-ranging impact on a person’s life. A person with thalassophobia might have panic attacks, social anxiety, or depression as their primary difficulties.

  • Diagnosis

There are a few things you can do if you seriously doubt that you have thalassophobia. An informal online test could tell you if you have thalassophobia. These internet-based, at-home tests could include viewing potentially triggering images or taking a quiz to determine the extent and intensity of your symptoms.

Although there is no proper test or assessment to diagnose this phobia, your doctor will probably evaluate your symptoms and look into any underlying medical issues. After looking at your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may be able to tell that you have a specific phobia.

In order to be diagnosed with a specific phobia, the DSM-5 says that the following must be true:

  • Your nervousness when you see deep water is persistent, exaggerated, and unreasonable.
  • You experience this fear whenever you are introduced to deep or open water.
  • You notice that your fear is out of line with the actual dangers.
  • You either resist going near the ocean or other bodies of water, or you endure them with nervousness.
  • Your fear of large bodies of water impedes your normal functioning.
  • Your fear has been present for at least six months.
  • Another disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, does not explain your fear.

Thalassophobia: a fear of ocean

How to overcome thalassophobia

Whilst genetic and evolutionary factors may also play a role in the development of specific phobias like thalassophobia, people can take steps to overcome such fears.

You can reduce your chances of developing thalassophobia by doing the following:

Seek help as soon as possible if you suspect you are developing a severe fear of deep or open water. One way to do this is to talk to a mental health professional about what you can do to calm your fears.

  • One of the most effective treatments for overcoming a specific phobia, such as a fear of the ocean, is cognitive behavioral therapy. A mental health professional may help you gradually desensitize to the presence of large bodies of water during a therapy session.

They may begin with less stressful triggers, such as images of calm water, to help reinforce the idea that the ocean and other large bodies of water are safe. After that, they will work with you to help you develop coping mechanisms and learn relaxation techniques.

They may employ another technique known as flooding. With this treatment, they try to get you to spend more time near big bodies of water so that your fear and anxiety go away. At some point, you might even have to go to a beach or put your toes in the ocean with a professional. Placed above a white horizon, this kind of safe exposure can help you become less afraid of the sea as a whole.

  • Psychoactive medication: Medications may also be able to help treat anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety medications may help to alleviate both the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety. They are typically used to treat severe anxiety that impairs a person’s ability to function.

Antidepressants are medications that may be effective in reducing symptoms in the short term. However, because of the high risk of dependency, doctors may only prescribe these medications in extreme cases.

Final thoughts:

Fear of the ocean is one of the most common phobias, and it can have a detrimental impact on a person’s daily life. A mental health expert can help you overcome your phobia of the sea.

Exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are both options for treating thalassophobia. Most patients benefit greatly from either treatment. Additionally, overcoming your apprehension about being near water might improve your overall well-being over time.

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