Bathophobia: (fear Of Depth): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Sea depths.

Are you completely unable to bathe in deep water? Do you feel great anguish just at the thought of putting your feet in a deep well? Although these reactions are usually completely normal in most cases, they perfectly describe how a person with bathophobia feels.

Throughout this article We will talk about this anxiety disorder known as bathophobia We will describe its symptoms, its causes and what are the techniques and professional interventions to treat it.

What is bathophobia?

Like the rest of phobias, bathophobia is an anxiety disorder in which the person experiences an intense terror of depths or situations in which you cannot see the lower part of your body due to depth or darkness.

Those spaces or situations in which the person can experience this fear can be swimming pools, the sea, the bottom of a well, etc. That is to say, spaces that convey a sensation of depth

It is necessary to specify that the fear or fear of deep spaces is completely habitual, natural and fulfills an adaptive function. So a person who suffers from this type of concern does not always have to suffer from a phobia. However, in cases where the person experiences a disabling anxiety that you cannot control and that has no rational basis ; Yes, it would be considered bathophobia.

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What symptoms does bathophobia present?

As mentioned above, bathophobia is classified within anxiety disorders, so Exposure to the phobic situation or stimulus will trigger an extreme anxiety response

Like the rest of phobias, the symptoms are divided into three sets: physical symptoms, cognitive symptoms and behavioral symptoms. However, although most people experience the same symptoms, this phobia presents great variability between people.

The main symptoms include those that we will see below.

Physical symptoms

Cognitive symptoms

Behavioral symptoms

Usually, the symptoms subside once the phobic stimulus has disappeared. Nevertheless, This will depend on the intensity with which the living person experiences bathophobia since in some cases the level of anxiety increases only by thinking about these very deep places.

What causes bathophobia?

There is no completely reliable way to determine the origin of a phobia. In most cases, a genetic predisposition linked to a traumatic experience or one with a high emotional burden It ends up giving rise to a phobia of some of the elements that involved the experience.

For example, a person who has experienced a shipwreck or a traumatic experience in a deep place is susceptible to developing bathophobia. However, this does not always have to be the case, given that there are a large number of factors such as personality or even the environment, which facilitate its appearance.

How is this phobia diagnosed?

In most cases, bathophobia remains undiagnosed, since people who suffer from it do not usually encounter these situations, so the phobia does not interfere too much with their daily life.

However, in cases in which the person who suffers from photophobia must face these situations, it is necessary to carry out an appropriate assessment that meets the established diagnostic criteria.

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Given the large number of phobias that currently exist, it has not been possible to establish a specific diagnostic protocol for each of them. Nevertheless, There are a series of common diagnostic criteria in all of these specific anxiety disorders

When the professional prepares to evaluate the patient, he or she must take into account the following aspects of the diagnosis:

  • Sensation of fear and immediate anxiety response upon the appearance of the phobic stimulus. In this case the depths.
  • The person carries out avoidance or escape behaviors when faced with the feared stimulus or situation.
  • The experience of fear is valued as disproportionate taking into account the real danger.
  • The fear appears for more than six months each time the person is exposed.
  • The symptoms and their consequences generate clinically significant discomfort.
  • The phobia and its symptoms interfere with the patient’s life.
  • The symptomatology cannot be better explained by any other mental illness or disorder.

Is there a treatment?

With proper diagnosis and treatment, both bathophobia and any other type of anxiety disorder can disappear almost completely.

Usually, the treatment of choice to help people with these types of disorders It is based on intervention through psychotherapy, always with the help of a psychology professional

Within these psychotherapies, cognitive behavioral treatment is the one that has stood out for being more effective and faster when symptoms subside. However, there are a large number of interventions and therapies that, carried out correctly and always with the help of an expert can also offer satisfactory results.

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Within the treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy, the following actions can be carried out.

1. Live exhibition

The avoidance carried out by people with bathophobia, or any type of anxiety disorder, is the first reason why it persists over time. Therefore, Through live exposure, the patient is confronted with the feared situation or to the phobic stimulus.

However, it is necessary that this exhibition always be conducted by a professional.

  • Related article: “Intervention in phobias: the exposure technique”

2. Systematic desensitization

When the anxiety response is so extreme that in vivo exposure cannot be performed, intervention through systematic desensitization will be carried out. With this technique that the patient is gradually exposed to the phobic stimulus

3. Relaxation techniques

It is essential that both in vivo exposure intervention and systematic desensitization be accompanied by training in relaxation techniques that reduces the patient’s alertness and facilitate your approach to the feared stimulus.

  • Related article: “6 easy relaxation techniques to combat stress”

4. Cognitive therapy

Since an essential component of phobias is the distorted thoughts that exist about the phobic stimulus, It is essential to use cognitive therapy to help eliminate them