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 and hence, very often, unavoidable.
Gephyrophobia is quite a common phobia and affects many individuals. People with this condition can experience anxiety in having to cross bridges in any way – walking, driving, public transort etc. For some the fear goes deeper – the mere thought of a possibility of having to cross a bridge or even just seeing one in a picture or movie can cause anxiety and panic.
Gephyrophobia is an irrational and persistent fear of all types of bridges. It’s so very different to a natural concern when having to cross an unstable looking bridge where there is a genuine risk. The vast majority of bridges are architectural designed structures that are constructed with safety in mind. They should cause no fear to those using them and there should be no real potential risk.
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. It’s also known to have started as a result of watching certain movie scenes. Even reading mutiple news reports of bridge related disasters can be enough to kick it off. Whilst, like all phobias, it is all in the mind an adrenal deficiency can occasionally act as a trigger.
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 result is that the sufferer will go out of their way to avoid a bridge at all costs. This could involve a lengthy detour on a journey, avoiding a trip because of the need to cross a bridge or even avoiding public transport in case a bridge is involved. We’ve even know people to not move to a certain are because of the number of bridges there!
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 across 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.