It gets really difficult when you want to go to a beach or want to go for swimming with your family members and friends or should I say your not so thalassophobic friends and family members? Thalassophobia is a fear of large water bodies. A person suffering can also fear the emptiness of oceans, seas or rivers or sometimes the aquatic animals living under the oceans. Thalassophobia is a real phobia and in this article, you will learn about how you can overcome your fear of large water bodies. But, before that make sure you know what exactly is thalassophobia and where did it come from?
Is There a Treatment That Works?
With the correct form of therapy, you can overcome your phobia of the ocean. There are numerous therapy choices available, and you just need to find which suits the best to you. Specific strategies and procedures used by therapists and medical professionals can help people with thalassophobia improve their symptoms. It’s important to remember that thalassophobia can lead to other mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, despair, and panic attacks if left untreated.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological strategy that can be used to treat thalassophobia. CBT is a method of psychotherapy that teaches patients how to identify and change disturbing thought patterns into more positive and realistic behavior. CBT is used by psychologists and therapists to have a negative influence on specific behaviors and emotions in order to replace them with more appropriate and realistic reactions. CBT has a positive effect on changing the neural pathways and activation of the brain in patients with phobias, resulting in more controlled behavior when exposed to the fear, according to a meta-analysis study in 20131.
The act of a person coming into close contact with the situation or setting that triggers their phobia in a safe way is known as exposure therapy. Exposure therapy’s overall purpose is to show the patient that a situation, object, or setting is not as dangerous or frightening as they might believe. This treatment also gives patients more confidence in their ability to cope with the situation that they are scared of. Exposure therapy is used to reduce the fear and anxiety associated with large bodies of water and, there are several variation a therapist may use to perform exposure therapy2.
Systematic desensitization is a treatment in which patients with specific phobias are exposed to more anxiety–provoking stimuli while also learning relaxation techniques. The majority of people with thalassophobia deliberately avoid the situation that they are scared of, which creates a false and even more terrifying fake reality. Systematic desensitization techniques involves three steps, The first step in systematic desensitization treatments is to learn muscular relaxation techniques, after which patients are instructed to make a list of fearful situations and third step is to rank them according to their intensity. Finally, the patients are instructed to confront their fears in steps. The goal of this technique is for people to focus on relaxation while they go through stressful situations until the environment or situation no longer affects them3.
In the treatment of psychologic trauma and anxiety disorders such as phobias and panic attacks, auricular chromotherapy has shown significant effects. This approach could become an important tool for clinicians due to its very simple and speedy technical use. However, its mechanism of action is not yet understood completely4.
Virtual Reality Therapy:
Virtual reality therapy relies on the brain’s visual systems. However, because it is still relatively new, more research is required to determine its efficacy.
Medication cannot cure phobias but they can help lessen symptoms of fear and anxiety.
FINDING HELP FOR PHOBIAS: If you have a fear of the ocean, or any other phobia that affects your quality of life, there are organizations that can help you with your phobias:-
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI has both a phone and text crisis line.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIH): The NIH has a full list of resources for both immediate and long-term help.
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator (SAMHSA): The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a tool that can help you find mental health care services in your area.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, 24-hour helpline that can assist those who are in crisis.
- 1.Ipser J, Singh L, Stein D. Meta-analysis of functional brain imaging in specific phobia. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2013;67(5):311-322. doi:10.1111/pcn.12055
- 2.American Psychological Association. What Is Exposure Therapy? apa. Accessed 2021. https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/exposure-therapy
- 3.MacLeod DrS. Systematic Desensitization as a Counterconditioning Process. simplypsychology. Accessed 2021. https://www.simplypsychology.org/Systematic-Desensitisation.html
- 4.Yoshizumi AM, Asis DG, Luz FA. Auricular Chromotherapy in the Treatment of Psychologic Trauma, Phobias, and Panic Disorder. Medical Acupuncture. Published online June 2018:151-154. doi:10.1089/acu.2018.1281