The irrational or excessive fear of bridges it’s called gephyrophobia. This phobia represents a major discomforting experience for the people who suffer it, as bridges are especially common structures in large cities. Gephyrophobia has been described and studied along with other types of phobias; not as a particular medical condition.
Gephyrophobia affects many individuals. People with this condition can experience anxiety for driving across bridges, but also for just seeing one in a picture or movie. In some cases, the person is also afraid of driving through tunnels.
Fear of bridges it’s considered irrational. The reason is that it happens in a context where bridges are objects of everyday use. Bridges are architectural structures that cause no fear to those driving through them every day; additionally, a bridge itself doesn’t have a quality that means any kind of potential risk.
Frequently, patients are highly aware of the excessive and irrational nature of their fear. However, they are not capable to handle it by themselves.
Gephyrophobia is closely related to other phobias such as fear of heights (acrophobia), and fear of unsafe situations (agoraphobia). Likewise, it’s related to claustrophobia (fear of narrow spaces), as some people are also afraid of tunnels.
Fear Of Bridges – Causes
People with gephyrophobia are terrified about the idea of bridges falling or falling from a bridge. These thoughts may origin from a previous danger experience associated with a bridge; also from witnessing in the past a terrible incident regarding a bridge. The trauma may come from seeing the incident in person, or through the newspaper or television.
Therefore, this phobia should always be treated as a fear related to some previous experience in the patient’s life. Overall, fear of bridges is explained through some of the following elements.
- Fear of a segment of the bridge falling off.
- Fear of a gust of wind going through the bridge and moving vehicles strongly.
- Doubting the structural integrity of the bridge.
- Fear of the bridge easily crumbling.
The fear of bridges overlaps with fear of heights. Gephyrophobia tends to exacerbate in high bridges rather than in bridges close to the ground or water underneath.
Symptoms Of Gephyrophobia
As we are talking about fears that generate considerable clinical discomfort, phobias in general and specifically gephyrophobia may represent an important obstacle to perform simple, daily activities. In the case of gephyrophobia, the person avoids routes involving bridges at all costs. Of course, the bigger the bridge, the more the person with gephyrophobia will try to avoid it.
In case there’s no alternative but to drive through a bridge, the person may experience typical symptoms of specific phobias. Among these symptoms, there are common responses of physiological anxiety such as accelerated heartbeat, hyperventilation, shaking, dizziness, and even panic attacks.
Treatments For The Fear Of Bridges
Clinical psychology has different tools to help people overcome gephyrophobia. The different strategies vary according to the theoretical approach.
Cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT)
A common strategy is focused on favoring a change of thoughts generating anxiety. CBT it’s a kind of psychotherapy capable to help patients with different phobias including Gephyrophobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help a person understand the root of their fear, change negative patterns of thinking, and improve the way they feel.
People can successfully overcome the fear of bridges with meditation and breathing exercises. These techniques are useful moments before crossing a bridge, the person could even park on the side of the road if necessary. Counting slowly from 1 to 10, and regulating breathing are great for easing anxiety.
Slow exposure to bridges is a proven method to overcome gephyrophobia. The person can start by driving across small bridges, and eventually drive across larger ones. Patients with severe panic for bridges can start the treatment by just watching movies or pictures of bridges before actually getting into a car.
The following are other tested therapies with proven results about overcoming gephyrophobia:
- Talk therapy
- Psychiatric counseling
Seeing a therapist can provide a patient with the tools to learn how to block negative self-talk, and instead, associate positive things with bridges. There are many specialists willing to help gephyrophobia patients, as it’s known that many people share this fear. It’s possible to see benefits from therapy in just a few sessions.
Hypnosis To Cure The Fear Of Bridges
Does the thought of crossing a bridge fills you with terror or panic. Would you’d rather take the long way round to avoid it. Does the thought of having to stand on a bridge bring you out in a cold sweat. Can you even look at a bridge without feeling the fear?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above then you need to think about hypnosis to treat your fear of bridges.
Hypnosis is a very effectinve treatment for fears of all types. Quite simply it works by resetting the brains auto response to enable it to react in a rational manner. It won’t see a bridge as a danger anymore and so it won’t cause the reaction of fear and avoidance of danger.