What is Thalassophobia?
There are many different types of phobias associated with water, such as aquaphobia or hydrophobia. Thalassophobia comes into this category, but with a difference – it is defined as an intense and often irrational fear of the sea or the ocean.
It is not a fear of all water bodies, such as fear of flooding from rain water as aquaphobia. It is also not a fear of water itself, so much so that the person refused to drink any liquid, even at the cost of getting severely dehydrated – that’s hydrophobia, which is something people get when they are infected by rabies.
Thalassophobia refers to the fear of deep water bodies such as seas and oceans only. The word Thalassophobia comes from thalassa, which means sea or ocean and phobos, which means fear in Greek.
Oceans occupy 71% of the Earth’s surface. Oceans are massive and are mostly unexplored. There are many great mysteries surrounding oceans. Thalassophobia may mean different things to different people. For some, it’s a fear of large waves, for others, it’s a fear of salty water; it could also be the fear of encountering scary sea creatures.
What Causes Thalassophobia?
There is no specific cause for this phobia of the sea. One may get this fear of the sea be because of watching movies such as Jaws, which have sharks and other dangerous aquatic creatures attacking people. Perhaps you have read books such as Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” and “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, where the protagonists take on dangerous sea creatures such as sharks and whales that are out to kill humans.
You’ve probably read news reports of the latest shark attack on the shores of Australia, which killed an unsuspecting deep ocean swimmer. Or you’ve seen a documentary on the Discovery Channel about electric eels, sharks and other sea predators attacking sailors and scuba divers.
All of these things can create a fear of water. Of course, the biggest contributor to Thalassophobia is arguably James Cameron’s Titanic, one of the most successful movies of all time, in which several people get drowned in the Atlantic Ocean, after the Titanic hits an iceberg. It made a lot of people worry about sea travel, in spite of the fact that the ships and ocean liners of today are perfectly safe.
Thalassophobia could be caused because of a negative or traumatic event in childhood. Parents should avoid narrating scary stories of the sea to small children, it could affect them negatively.
What Happens When You Have Thalassophobia?
Those who are suffering from this phobia may find it unbearable to watch images of the sea. They make shake or tremble at the sight of the ocean, and feel terrified while watching movies where a lot of the action takes place in oceans.
They feel detached and numb when faced with images or thoughts of the ocean and unable to articulate their thoughts clearly. They cry at the sight of the sea and resist sea travel. They even refuse to fly by a plane if it has to pass over an ocean.
They feel nauseous at the sight of a beach, and simply refuse to go to a beach, even for a party, date or other social occasions.
Is there is a Treatment for Thalassophobia?
Hypnotherapy and NLP or Neuro-linguistic programming therapy are the recommended treatments for this ocean phobia. Acupuncture is another effective treatment for this fear, as is the use of energy psychology. What’s important to understand is that seas and oceans are generally safe, and it’s more likely for someone to die of a road accident than to die of drowning at the sea.