Aquaphobia, also known as hydrophobia is the term for a deep and irrational fear and aversion toward water.
It is a specific phobia of a natural environmental type.
A specific phobia is referring to a fear of something, that poses little to no actual threat.
A fear of water is present in about 2.3% of the populations of various countries.
An “aquaphobic” person experiences severe anxiety, or even panic attack if subjected or exposed to water.
In the case of hydrophobia, there are both genetic and experiential factors in play, that make a person afraid of water.
Origin of the term
While the correct Greek derived term was hydrophobia, the word “aquaphobia” has been in use in the English language for a long time, especially to the symptoms of late-stage rabies, where the patient has a great difficulty swallowing and is wary of liquids.
The term is comprised of the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and the Greek word –phobia, meaning fear from something.
“Aquaphobia” had been utilized to diagnose people with fear of water in English since the 1870’s.
Spread of the term
“Aquaphobia” is a condition, that is rather common, and it is more likely to develop in people, who are unable to swim, or who had a traumatic experience with water (i.e.: nearly drowned etc.).
A related condition is called thalassophobia, which is a fear of the sea.
- Medical News Today – What to know about aquaphobia