According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18.1% of the adult population in America suffer from some type of phobia. Of all of the basic cases mentioned, aquaphobia is one of the largest sub types that individuals have.
The word aquaphobia derives from the Greek word hydrophobia, literally meaning “water fear.” At one point the “hydro” was dropped and the Latin word aqua replaced it, hence, the word we get today that signifies light to high morbid fear of drowning or the water in general.
The levels of this anxiety disorder ranges from feeling uneasy about getting into any type of large body of water, like a pool, to being afraid to get into a bathtub. In extreme cases, some individuals suffer a panic attack when they are splashed with a little bit of water.
Typically the root cause of aquaphobia is due to a bad experience in the past. There are many instances where a traumatic experience happened at a young age and the person it happened to was never able to move on from it. This is why pushing children in the pool before they know how to swim or trying to force them into the water before they are ready can prove to be disastrous in the future.
In the most extreme cases a qualified therapist will be need to assist you with your anxiety disorder. This is a real fear, despite what some others would have you believe, and treatment of it needs to be done by a trained physiological specialist. There are all kinds of exercises they will have to do that have proved to be highly successful.
The majority of individuals who suffer from aquaphobia, however, can benefit from having an experienced swim instructor teach them how to swim, at one’s own pace. The process involves taking baby steps in order to get comfortable with being in water.
You need someone who will encourage you and give your positive feedback during your journey of getting rid of this fear. Someone who is highly skilled at doing something is rarely afraid of it. Likewise, as your develop proper swimming techniques you will begin to fell more comfortable in the water.
While there is no treatment that works 100% of the time, I have found that most adults start to love the water once they are gradually introduced to it and are taught proper swimming techniques.
I have also found that it is helpful to understand your past if you plan to get over your fear of the water. You need to attempt to find what started this fear in the first place.
Was your head held under the water resulting in you thinking for a brief moment you would drown? did you loose someone you loved in a traumatic drowning experience? or were you never properly introduced to the water at an early age that later on affected your comfort level with it?
Personally, I have been given the privilege to teach many adults how to swim. Many of them came to me with an acute fear of being in the water. Thankfully, they put their trust in me and I was able to help them conquer this phobia.
Many adults have avoided the water their whole life and only made it a point to overcome this fear when they had kids. I was told by several adults well into their late 30s that they did not want to pass their fear of the water onto their children.
Remember that you can overcome this. I have witnessed many great success stories. Do not let this fear haunt you for the rest of your life. Take action now and make small steps every single day to accomplish your goal. It might take a while but once you do, you might find that you actually love the water and will not be able to imagine the days when you avoided it.