Aquaphobia

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Aquaphobia is a persistent and abnormal fear of water.[1] Aquaphobia is a specific phobia that involves a level of fear that is beyond the patient's control or that may interfere with daily life.[2] People suffer aquaphobia in many ways and may experience it even though they realize the water in an ocean, a river, or even a bathtub poses no imminent threat. They may avoid such activities as boating and swimming, or they may avoid swimming in the deep ocean despite having mastered basic swimming skills.[3] This anxiety commonly extends to getting wet or splashed with water when it is unexpected, or being pushed or thrown into a body of water.

Prevalence[edit]

Phobias (in the clinical meaning of the term) are the most common form of anxiety disorders. A study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7% and 18.1% of Americans suffer from phobias.[4] Broken down by age and gender, the study found that phobias were the most common mental illness among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25.

Of the simple phobias, aquaphobia is among the more common subtypes. In an article on anxiety disorders, Lindal and Stefansson suggest that aquaphobia may affect as many as 1.8% of the general Icelandic population, or roughly one in fifty people.[5]

Causes[edit]

Psychologists indicate that aquaphobia manifests itself in people through a combination of experiential and genetic factors.[6]

Etymology[edit]

The correct Greek-derived term for "water-fear" is hydrophobia, from ὕδωρ (hudōr), "water"[7] and φόβος (phobos), "fear".[8] However, this word has long been used in English[9] to refer specifically to a symptom of later-stage rabies, which manifests itself in humans as difficulty in swallowing, fear when presented with liquids to drink, and an inability to quench one's thirst.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ Edmund J. Bourne, The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, 4th ed, New Harbinger Publications, 2005, ISBN 1-57224-413-5
  3. ^ Dr. Kennedy's cumulative Vocabulary Course
  4. ^ Kessler et al., Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of 12-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, June 2005, Archive of General Psychiatry, Vol. 20
  5. ^ Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 1993 Jul;88(1):29-34.
  6. ^ Lynne L. Hall, Fighting Phobias, the Things That Go Bump in the Mind, FDA Consumer Magazine, Volume 31 No. 2, March 1997
  7. ^ ὕδωρ, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  8. ^ φόβος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  9. ^ See, e.g., Tales of The Astro Force. AuthorHouse. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-4259-6402-3.