Acrophobia – The Fear Of Heights: The word acrophobia is derived from the Greek word ‘akron’, meaning edge or summit. Acrophobia is rightly defined as an irrational or morbid fear of heights. Many of us feel apprehensive when looking down from a height. However, in those who suffer from acrophobia, this discomfort is intense and brings feelings of panic and agitation that are not within the normal range.
Acrophobia belongs to a specific category of fears referred to as ‘space and motion discomfort’. Many a time, the word ‘vertigo’ is used incorrectly to describe fear of heights. An individual who suffers from vertigo feels dizzy that comes not only when looking down from a height but also due to other stimuli.
Acrophobia is believed to be caused, like other phobias, as a result of constant conditioning or traumatic incident involving heights. However, recent studies have suggested that the fear of heights is inborn and common in many of the mammals.
The word phobia can be used to describe those whose fears are at the very end of the spectrum. Such a fear can disrupt everyday living when the person becomes scared to climb a flight of stairs, or standing on any form of raised platform.
No one need battle Acrophobia or the fear of heights, there are anxiety treatment programs that really do work.
The psychological symptoms can vary between acrophobics. Some may experience the physical symptoms just by seeing high places or even just thinking about having to go up a high building, structure or place. To others it may be a fear of being trapped and having no escape from somewhere high. Most common, as you’d probably expect, the phobia manefests itself when having to experience being up high. This could be having the climb a ladder or stairs, looking out of a high window or down from a roof, crossing a bridge, climbing a mountain etc. Finally, it’s oftem acompanied by a fear of further encounter with heights again at some point in the future.
Research indicates that a contributing factor to this fear is because of a degree of dysfunction in the ability to maintain balance. Balance is maintained using visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular cues. Even in normal individuals, visual cues are seen to recede in heights. People then rely more on the vestibular and proprioceptive cues for movement. An acrophobic continues to rely more on visual cues which may be due to a wrong strategy or inadequacy of the vestibular and proprioceptive functions. As the visual cortex becomes loaded, confusion sets in.
Both physically and emotionally, the symptoms of acrophobia are similar to other phobias.The acrophobic experiences (amongst other symptoms):
The acrophobic may or may not experience symptoms of vertigo. However, a sense of panic sets in that may cause the individual to look for something to cling on, lower the body, crawl on all fours, and even stop moving.The mind becomes paralyzed with fear and it becomes difficult to think further.
Acrophobics dread future situations wherein they may have to spend even some time at heights, for example, even driving over a bridge, using the balconies in houses, staying in a hotel room on a higher floor, etc.
You weren’t born with particular fears or anxiety – instead you have developed them along your life journey so far. In very simple terms Hypnotherapy works by re-setting the mind to produce the rational response to a specific situation or environment that you had before the phobia was initially triggered off. Find Out More >
Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP combines neurology and linguistics and creates a sort of programming that helps people change their thinking habits, help them deal with anxiety, stress, depression and overcome particular fears. In short, this means taking a specific fear or phobia and disassociating and reframing the experience to prevent the irrational response. Find Out More >
In simple terms Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT as it’s more commonly referrred to, is a talking therapy which takes your specific issue, fear or specific phobia and focusses on your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and how they affect your behaviour and emotions in respect of this issue. It takes on the notion that your thoughts (cognition) creates emotions which, in turn, controls our reactions (behaviour). Find Out More >
If the fear of heights fill you with terror then take a look at one of our recommended, self-help treatment programs that are all guaranteed, proven and effective.