Aquaphobia : let's talk about it

How to overcome aquaphobia. Some people suffer from a chronic and irrational fear of water. Even if they want to go into the water, people who suffer from aquaphobia simply cannot contemplate any contact with the aquatic environment. So what can be done to help people who want to overcome this fear?

Aquaphobia : let's talk about it

What is aquaphobia?

Aquaphobia is the fear of water. It is characterised by "fear that is uncontrollable or that interferes with everyday life". There are many reasons behind this fear and they depend on each individual's experience. Aquaphobia manifests itself in a number of ways:

- The fear of all forms of water: rain, splashes, waterfalls, etc.
- Fear of diving
- Fear of being out of one's depth in water 

It is quite a common phenomenon, since one in five people in France feel ill at ease in water and one in six suffers from aquaphobia.

How can this fear be overcome?

A number of solutions are open to people who want to feel at ease in water. Training courses designed to overcome the fear of water are on offer in several large towns in France. The main goal is to rediscover the pleasure of being in water.
Experienced instructors, working with small groups, adapt the training course to each individual's fears in order to maximise their chances of success.
The length of the training courses depends on each individual's needs. For example, some people are quite capable of starting on a Saturday morning and finishing on the Sunday evening!
Some organisations even claim that "the progress made by the end of the course is often quite spectacular".

Anyone who wants to try to overcome their fear right away would be well advised to follow a few tips: Add some essential oils to the water in order to feel more at ease in your bath. The relaxing qualities of the oils will help you to feel more comfortable.
Rather than visiting your local public swimming pool, choose a thalassotherapy centre. They are more intimate and reassuring.
Do the "glass of water test". Turn a glass upside down and plunge it into a basin full of water. The air remains inside the glass. The same thing happens when you put your head underwater! The air prevents the water from flowing into your nose, as long as you do not tilt your head backwards. Today, there are a number of ways to overcome your aquaphobia. Solutions now exist to overcome this fear and rediscover the pleasure of being in water, according to each individual's degree of aquaphobia.

Benjamin is a computer engineer who suffers from aquaphobia. He agreed to answer a few questions.

How does your fear of water manifest itself?

As soon as I am no longer in contact with the ground, I start panicking. If I stay within my depth and upright, then I can keep my fear under control, otherwise I panic, I start making all sorts of movements, taking very deep breaths (hardly ideal when you are underwater) and I completely lose my bearings.

When did your fear first appear?

I can't really remember exactly when it started. As far as I know, it has always existed. When I was 12 or 13, I tried to learn to swim for the first time, and that was when I realised. I have never felt particularly at ease in water, but since I had never tried to swim or done any boardsports, this seemed quite normal to me.

To you plan to take lessons to try and overcome your aquaphobia?

I don't think so. It's not that I feel uneasy about my fear, or ashamed, or anything like that. I have already tried to learn to swim three times, and on each occasion I managed to go a little bit further. I would like to stick to "normal" methods. I can enjoy myself in water as long as I stay within my depth. I can even go underwater, which is something I could not do a few years ago. I don't think that I'll ever say to myself "it would be really cool to go for a swim in the sea". But I feel quite optimistic about being able to do just that in the not too distant future.