Thalassophobia Pictures That Will Trigger Your Fear Of The Ocean

Scary Deep Ocean Pictures

There are a lot of phobias that we haven’t even heard of. For every single thing that exists, there are people with an intense fear of it. However, thalassophobia - a fear of the ocean and the dark secrets it conceals underneath the water's surface - doesn’t really seem like an irrational one.

This is a common fear a lot of people have, even though they may not know what the phobia is called.

Even if you do not have thalassophobia, these pictures would probably freak anyone out. Isn’t a healthy fear of the ocean basically evolutionarily ingrained in us?

Can you imagine going scuba diving, looking up, and seeing a school of sharks over you? Would you just let the depths below take you or try swimming through them to the surface?

This photo may look like a diver on some alien planet. It is actually a diver underneath a thick layer of ice. We already feel panicked at just the idea of not being able to surface.

This one also seems like some nightmare-inducing drawing. Well, it is nightmare-inducing, but it is no drawing. It is the first photo ever taken underwater.

This is a sign in a popular cave that divers frequent. When your hobby produces signs warning you about your hobby, maybe it’s time for a new one.

This is called a ‘Garden of Eels.’ The photo was taken in Dumaguete, Philippines. That is one garden we really do not want to walk through.

This is called The Pit, and it is located in Tulum, Mexico. It is a popular dive site for thrill seekers. No matter how brave you are, to feel so small in such a vast space must be unnerving.

This may look like a nightmarish drawing, but it is an actual photo of a diver under the hull of a sunken ship.

The scariest part of the ocean is you never know what is literally just beneath the surface. It can look so peaceful and calm, but a look underneath and you see this beast swimming towards you. Even though wild orcas aren’t violent towards humans, we would not like to meet them in open water.

Whales are beautiful, intelligent creatures that deserve our respect. They should also be viewed from boats bigger than them in case of THIS!

This freaky thing swimming upwards, looking ready to swallow you up, is a massive manta ray that has been filmed with a UV light. Yes, get a UV light and make scary things in the ocean scarier. what an inspiring idea.

Can you imagine swimming through this? It is a satellite photo of a massive manta ray migration. Stay outta their way.

This photo may be the scariest. So many things could be below that guy in the dark water. Where is his boat? Where are the other people? WHY? We like the ocean with a coastline.

What Is Deep Water Fear?

The intense fear of deep water is commonly known as thalassophobia. This fear is characterized by an irrational and extreme reaction to being near or in deep water. It's important to note that thalassophobia is not limited to just the ocean but can also include lakes and rivers. The term itself is derived from Greek words meaning "sea" and "fear." While it's not uncommon for people to feel some level of anxiety or discomfort around deep water, those with thalassophobia may experience a more severe impact on their daily lives.

For individuals with thalassophobia, the fear of deep water can manifest in various ways. Merely thinking about or seeing images of vast bodies of water can trigger intense feelings of panic, dread, and unease. The fear may be so overwhelming that it hinders their ability to engage in activities that involve water, such as swimming, boating, or even taking a relaxing beach vacation.

Living with thalassophobia can be challenging, as it can limit one's ability to participate in water-related activities or enjoy natural bodies of water. This fear can also impact social interactions, as individuals may avoid situations where they might be exposed to deep water, leading to feelings of isolation or exclusion. Furthermore, the fear can cause significant distress and anxiety, affecting one's overall mental well-being.

How To Treat Deep Water Fear?

Treatment options for thalassophobia typically involve therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to identify and challenge irrational thoughts and beliefs surrounding deep water. Exposure therapy may also be beneficial, which involves gradually exposing individuals to water-related situations in a controlled and supportive environment. In the most severe cases, doctors may prescribe medications to help manage anxiety symptoms.

It's important for people with thalassophobia to seek support and understanding from loved ones, as well as to educate themselves about the fear to better cope with it. By gradually facing their fear and seeking professional help, those with thalassophobia can work towards overcoming their fear and reclaiming their ability to enjoy water-related activities and environments.

What Does Thalassophobia Look Like?

Thalassophobia can show up in various ways, including physical symptoms, emotional distress, specific visual triggers, behavioral responses, and cognitive reactions when faced with the sea or deep water.

For those with thalassophobia, certain visual cues can cause intense fear and discomfort. These may include vast expanses of open water, the dark depths of the ocean, large sea creatures or shadows lurking beneath the water's surface, as well as images or videos depicting underwater scenes.

People with thalassophobia may display specific behaviors as a response to their fear. They might avoid activities involving open water, such as swimming, boating, or diving. Furthermore, they may refuse to visit beaches or coastal areas and experience extreme distress when near bodies of water.

Additionally, individuals with thalassophobia may have cognitive reactions to their fear. They might engage in catastrophic thinking about potential dangers in the water and have intrusive thoughts about being pulled under the surface or encountering sea creatures. Despite understanding the unlikeliness of certain events occurring, they may find it difficult to rationalize their fear.

What Are Thalassophobia Symptoms?

Thalassophobia can manifest itself through a range of emotional and physical symptoms, which can differ in intensity from person to person and situation to situation. Let's explore some of the most prevalent signs of this phobia.

Physical Symptoms

Shortness of Breath and Rapid Breathing

Individuals with thalassophobia may experience shortness of breath and rapid breathing when exposed to deep water or ocean-related situations. This can be a result of the body’s natural “fight or flight” response being triggered by the perceived threat.

Chest Pain and Tightness

The chest pain and tightness associated with thalassophobia occur due to the physiological changes during the stress response. Adrenaline causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to increased blood pressure and reduced blood flow to certain areas of the body, including the chest. This reduced blood flow can result in a sensation of tightness or discomfort in the chest region.

Nausea and Dizziness

Some people with thalassophobia may experience nausea and dizziness when exposed to deep water or ocean-related situations. The mere sight or thought of deep water can trigger a physiological response, causing an individual to feel queasy or even vomit. The vastness and depth of the ocean can be overwhelming, and the fear of the unknown can trigger a sense of disorientation. This feeling of being unsteady or off-balance can further intensify the fear and anxiety associated with deep water.

Sweating and Shaking

Individuals with thalassophobia may experience sweating and shaking when confronted with deep water or ocean-related situations. Sweating is a common physical manifestation of anxiety and fear, as the body attempts to regulate its temperature in response to heightened stress levels. Moreover, the fear and anxiety associated with deep water can cause the body to enter a state of heightened arousal, leading to uncontrollable shaking.

Emotional Symptoms

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are common among those with thalassophobia. These attacks can be debilitating and may occur even when the person is not directly exposed to deep water. As a result, individuals may go to great lengths to avoid situations that could potentially expose them to their fear, such as avoiding beaches, swimming pools, boats, or even movies or documentaries featuring the ocean.


People who struggle with thalassophobia often choose to avoid situations or locations that involve deep water or the ocean in order to cope with their fear. This may involve not participating in activities like swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. In some cases, they may even avoid beach vacations or watching movies or TV shows related to the ocean.

Irrational Thoughts

One common irrational belief among people with thalassophobia is the fear of drowning. They may convince themselves that even a brief encounter with the ocean will inevitably lead to their demise, regardless of their ability to swim or the presence of lifeguards. Additionally, those with thalassophobia may hold exaggerated beliefs about the threat of sea creatures. Their fear may extend beyond the well-known dangers of sharks or jellyfish, causing them to perceive even harmless marine life as potential sources of harm.

Mood Swings

Thalassophobia can have a profound impact on an individual's emotional state, causing their moods to fluctuate significantly. The fear and anxiety associated with this phobia can evoke feelings of sadness, annoyance, and hopelessness, leaving those affected struggling to navigate their daily lives.

What Causes Fear Of Water?

The causes of thalassophobia are multifaceted and can be attributed to a variety of factors, including personal experiences, genetics, and cultural influences.

Personal Experiences

Personal experiences play a significant role in the development of thalassophobia. Traumatic incidents, such as near-drowning experiences, witnessing or hearing about accidents at sea, or being caught in a powerful ocean current, can leave a lasting impact on an individual's psyche. These experiences can create a deep-rooted fear and anxiety associated with the ocean, leading to thalassophobia.


Genetics is another crucial factor that leads to the development of thalassophobia. Research suggests that certain individuals may be genetically predisposed to anxiety disorders, including specific phobias. This means that individuals with a family history of anxiety disorders may be more susceptible to developing thalassophobia. Genetic factors can influence the brain's response to fear and stress, making some individuals more prone to developing an intense fear of the ocean.

Cultural Influences

Cultural influences also play a role in the development of thalassophobia. In societies where the ocean is portrayed as dangerous or associated with negative events, individuals may internalize these beliefs and develop a fear of the ocean. Cultural narratives, such as stories of shipwrecks, sea monsters, or drowning incidents, can contribute to the formation of thalassophobia. Additionally, cultural practices that discourage or limit exposure to the ocean, such as certain religious beliefs or societal norms, can further reinforce the fear and anxiety associated with the sea.

Cognitive Factors

Cognitive factors, such as pessimistic thoughts and beliefs about deep water, can significantly contribute to the development and maintenance of thalassophobia. . These individuals may tend to focus on negative outcomes or potential dangers associated with deep water. They may imagine scenarios where they are unable to swim or are at risk of drowning, leading to a heightened sense of fear and anxiety. These pessimistic thoughts can become deeply ingrained and automatic, making it challenging for individuals to challenge or dismiss them.

crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram