Thalassophobia: An intense fear of the sea or other large bodies of water. Thalassophobia is considered a specific phobia, meaning a single, distinct trigger can set it off.

The phobia can include the fear of being in large bodies of water, the fear of the vast emptiness of the sea and below water, as well as the fear of being under very deep, dark water. It can also include the fear of encountering sea creatures when swimming in the sea.

For people with severe thalassophobia they can’t even step foot in the sea. Just an image or film showing the sea can set off shaking, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea and anxiety.

Thalassophobia can stem from traumatic experiences in the sea during childhood, hearing of shark attacks or stories of swimmers drowning and being aggravated by films, books and images.

Symptoms of thalassophobia can be bought on by diving, as well as other water activities and can be made worse if someone feels like they can’t get out of the water or will be submerged in the water.

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For many people, sharks are the main reason to be scared of the sea and for people with thalassophobia this can be true too, however just an image of the deep water itself can be just as scary.

Thalassophobia can be treated by self hypnosis, hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy which can help change the pattern of thinking which developed to set the phobia in place.

Even for people who love the sea, the idea of very dark, deep water can set off anxiety and a fear of the unknown which in some cases can lead to avoiding boat trips and staying in the shallowest part of the sea to avoid ever having to be in deep water.

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What do you make of this? Do some of these images set off a little fear inside you? Can you not even bare to look at them? Let us know in the comments below.