The fear of heights AKA Acrophobia makes people highly scared and apprehensive about circumstances that require them to be high above the ground, such as ascending a ladder or reaching the top of a tall building. Because of the depth of their anxiety, people suffering from acrophobia frequently avoid situations involving heights.
It is natural to feel concerned about heights, especially if they are uncommon, large, or unstable. Acrophobia is a considerably more serious or disruptive fear that can impair a person’s ability to operate in daily life.
What Causes The Fear Of Heights?
Acrophobia can develop as a result of a traumatic experience with heights, such as falling from a high place, witnessing someone else fall from a high place, experiencing a panic attack, or having another terrible experience while in a high area.
However, phobias, like acrophobia, can arise for no apparent reason. Genetics or environmental factors may play a role in these cases.
Genetics or environmental factors may play a role in these cases.
For example, if someone else in your family has acrophobia, you are more likely to have it as well. As a child, you may have learned to dread heights by observing the conduct of your parents.
Signs That You Have Fear Of Heights
The emotional and physical response to acrophobia is comparable to that of any other phobia. Acrophobia commonly connects with the following symptoms:
When you realize you’re high off the earth, you may get a panic attack. You may intuitively seek something to hold to and discover that you are unable to trust your own sense of equilibrium.
Common reactions include immediately descending, crawling on all fours, kneeling, or otherwise lowering your body.
Acrophobia’s bodily symptoms are similar to those of other particular phobias and may include:
- Chest ache
- A fast heartbeat
- Breathing difficulty
Anxiety and Avoidance
If you have acrophobia, you will begin to fear scenarios that will need you to spend time in high areas. For instance, you may be concerned that your next vacation would place you in a hotel room on a high floor. You may put off house maintenance because you are afraid of utilizing a ladder. If your friends’ houses have balconies or upstairs picture windows, you should avoid going there.
This avoidance can impair your capacity to function in daily life. Due to excessive anxiety and avoidance, you may be unable to attend school, work, visit friends, or leave your home.
How Can The Fear Of Heights Be Treat?
Psychological treatment (psychotherapy) for acrophobia, such as exposure therapy, virtual reality exposure therapy, and/or cognitive behavioral therapy, is usually effective. To cope with dread while participating in therapy, patients may require drugs that temporarily ease symptoms of fear and anxiety.
Exposure therapy is a type of psychological treatment that is commonly used to address certain phobias. People who have phobias typically avoid situations involving the subject they are scared of.
As a result, they are unable to learn that they can manage their anxiety when confronted with their specific phobia or that their anticipated outcomes frequently do not occur. Exposure therapy uses therapists and psychologists to gradually encourage people with phobias to enter circumstances that give them anxiety and to try to stay in such situations so that they can learn to cope.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychological therapy. Your therapist or psychologist assists you in gaining a different viewpoint by talking and asking questions. As a result, you learn to respond to and manage the tension and anxiety you experience when exposed to situations that make you afraid.
Virtual reality – A brilliant way to treat Acrophobia
In recent years, some specialists have focused on virtual reality (VR) as a potential treatment for phobias.
An immersive VR experience might expose you to what you’re afraid of in a secure environment. When you use computer software, you have the choice to stop right away if things get too much for you.
A 2018 research investigated the impact of VR on 100 patients suffering from acrophobia. During the VR sessions, participants only felt little pain. Many people found VR therapy to be beneficial.
While the study authors acknowledge that more research is needed in the sector, they conclude that because VR can be done at home, it may be an easily accessible and economical therapeutic option.
Conditions Related to Acrophobia
Acrophobia does relate to the following conditions:
True vertigo is a medical disease that causes dizziness and a spinning sensation. Illyngophobia is a phobia in which the dread of experiencing vertigo causes vertigo-like symptoms.
Although acrophobia can cause symptoms similar to vertigo, the three illnesses are not the same.
If you have vertigo symptoms, see a doctor for tests. Blood tests, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to rule out a number of neurological diseases.
Bathmophobia, or dread of slopes and stairs, sometimes relates to acrophobia. It causes you to fear when you see a steep slope, even if you do not need to ascend it.
Although many people who have bathmophobia also have acrophobia, most acrophobic do not have bathmophobia.
This fear is similar to bathmophobia, except that it usually occurs just while you are thinking of climbing. If you have climacophobia, you generally aren’t terrified of a steep set of stairs as long as you can stay safe at the bottom. However, climacophobia and acrophobia can coexist.
This is the fear of flying in particular. Depending on the level of your fear, you may be terrified of airports and airplanes, or you may only be afraid when flying. Aerophobia can sometimes coexist with acrophobia.
Risks Of Acrophobia
Most phobias pose the greatest risk of limiting your life and activities in order to avoid the feared situation. Acrophobia, on the other hand, is rare in that having a panic episode while far above the ground may really result in the feared threat.
The situation may be safe if conventional measures are performed, but panicking may cause you to make risky decisions.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Acrophobia?
Medications are rarely used to treat particular phobias such as acrophobia. People with acrophobia may take drugs to temporarily ease symptoms of fear and anxiety while undergoing psychological therapy or in unavoidable situations to address their phobia. Medications to treat acrophobia include:
Some beta-blockers are used to treat or prevent physical anxiety symptoms such as a racing heart.
Benzodiazepines, which intend to help you relax, can temporarily lower the level of anxiety you experience.
This medication may enhance the benefits of exposure therapy. DCS seems to assist increase the effectiveness of exposure therapy in investigations involving persons with various anxiety-related illnesses.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Doctor?
Talking about your mental health can be awkward and frightening. Because your mental health is equally as essential as your physical health, it’s critical to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
If you have acrophobia, you should ask your doctor the following questions:
- What kind of treatment would you suggest?
- Should I consult with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist?
- Do you have any suggestions for psychologists, psychiatrists, or therapists I may consult?
- How long will the treatment last?
- Do you know of any acrophobia or other phobia support groups?
- Do you have any acrophobia learning resources I could read?
The Ending Note
If you suffer from acrophobia, you are not alone. Acrophobia is a very prevalent fear. Avoiding heights may bring temporary respite, but it does not address the underlying source of your anxiety and terror.
Although it may be challenging and painful, speaking with your healthcare practitioner and seeking adequate therapy for your acrophobia is essential. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will be able to reclaim control of your life.