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Iceberg Depths

Bathophobia (from Greek bathios, "depth") is the fear of depths. This fear is sometimes due to a past traumatic experience such as practically drowning in deep water, being frightened in a protracted dark hallways or caves, falling into quicksand, or even just putting hand in the murky liquid. Hearing accidents or deaths related to depths on the news can also trigger bathophobia. Certain medical conditions can even cause bathophobia, like diabetes, menopause, PMS, certain cardiac conditions, thyroid or parathyroid related illnesses combined with daily environmental stress. As a result, people with bathophobia try to avoid lakes, swimming pools, seas, hallways, wells, mountain valleys, tunnels, caves or all other things that have depth associated with them. Upon encountering depths, bathophobes can begin to experience physical symptoms of hysteria and distress. These signs can include sweating, an elevated heart rate, excessive blood pressure, trembling, dizziness, nausea, loss of control, feeling, feeling trapped, and thoughts about death or dying.

Non-pharmalogical techniques are the best bet to overcome bathophobia, including hypnosis, systematic desensitization, cognitive behavior therapy, or implosion therapy. A series of mental exercises such as imagining oneself approaching a valley or deep water, or stepping into the water or wearing the scuba diving/paragliding equipment and actually diving are known methods of overcoming one’s anxiety response. Some other methods include in-vivo exercises such as actually standing in waist deep water or walking in the pool.

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