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Aquaphobia (from Latin aqua, meaning 'water', and Ancient Greek φόβος (phóbos), meaning 'fear') is an irrational fear of water.[1]


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 almost one in fifty people.[2]


Psychologists indicate that aquaphobia manifests itself in people through a combination of experiential and genetic factors.[3] In the case of a 37 year old media professor, he noted that his fear initially presented itself as a, "severe pain, accompanied by a tightness of his forehead".[4] In addition to this he experienced a choking sensation, discrete panic attacks and a reduction in his intake of fluids. [5] These manifestations can have a profound effect on a person's health, work, confidence and overall wellbeing.


The correct Greek-derived term for "water-fear" is hydrophobia, from ὕδωρ (hudōr), "water"[6] and φόβος (phobos), "fear".[7] However, this word has long been used in English 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]


  1. ^ "aquaphobia", The Free Dictionary, retrieved 2019-05-27
  2. ^ Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 1993 Jul;88(1):29–34.
  3. ^ Lynne L. Hall, Fighting Phobias, the Things That Go Bump in the Mind, FDA Consumer Magazine, Volume 31 No. 2, March 1997
  4. ^ Ajinkya. "Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Panic Disorder with Aquaphobia". Sleep and Hypnosis. 17.
  5. ^ Ajinkya. "Cognitive Hpnotherapy for Panic disorder with Aquaphobia". Sleep and Hypnosis. 17.
  6. ^ ὕδωρ, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  7. ^ φόβος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus