Acrophobia is identified as a fear of heights. In contrast to a specific phobia such as aerophobia, the fear of flying, acrophobia can lead you to fear many different factors related to being far away from the ground. Depending on the phobia’s intensity, you may fear being on a higher floor of a building nearly as much as simply ascending a ladder. Acrophobia is what is fear of heights is called in a technical sense. I use hypnotherapy to help with a fear of heights and other phobias.
What is fear of heights called?
Related Conditions to fear of heights
Conditions that are related to acrophobia and might occur along with it include:
Genuine vertigo is a medical condition that triggers a sensation of spinning and dizziness. Illyngophobia is a phobia in which the fear of developing vertigo can actually cause vertigo-like symptoms. Acrophobia can cause similar emotions and thoughts, but the three conditions are not precisely the same. See a doctor for tests if you experience vertigo symptoms. Medical tests may include blood tests, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can eliminate a variety of neurological conditions.
The fear of slopes and stairs, called bathmophobia, is sometimes associated with acrophobia. In bathmophobia, you might panic when looking at a steep slope, even if you have no reason to climb it. Although many people with bathmophobia have acrophobia, most acrophobia affected individuals do not also experience bathmophobia.
This fear is related to bathmophobia, except that it generally takes place only when you’re considering making a climb. If you suffer from climacophobia, you’re probably not frightened to see a steep set of stairs as long as you can remain safely towards the bottom. Nevertheless, climacophobia may occur in tandem with acrophobia.
This is the specific fear of flying. Depending on the intensity of your fear, you may be afraid of airports and airplanes, or may only feel the fear when you’re in the air. Aerophobia may occasionally occur alongside acrophobia.
Symptom of fear of heights
Emotionally and physically, the reaction to acrophobia is similar to the reaction to any other phobia. You may never experience vertigo symptoms, but you may encounter the following with acrophobia:
You may experience a feeling of panic when you perceive that you’re high off the ground. You might instinctively start to look for something to cling to and find that you’re struggling to trust your own sense of balance. Common reactions include descending quickly, crawling on all fours, and kneeling or otherwise lowering your body.
You may begin to shake, sweat, experience heart palpitations, and even cry or yell out. You might feel terrified and paralyzed. It might grow to be difficult to think.
Anxiety and Avoidance:
If you have acrophobia, it’s likely that you will begin to fear situations that may lead you to spend time in high places. For example, you might be concerned that an upcoming vacation will put you in a hotel room on a high floor. You might put off home improvements for fear of working with a ladder. You might steer clear of visiting friends’ homes if they have balconies or upstairs picture windows.
Risks related to a fear of heights
The biggest threat that most phobias present is the risk of restricting your life and activities to avoid the dreaded situation. However, acrophobia is unconventional in that having a panic attack while high off the ground could actually lead to the imagined danger.
The situation may be safe as long as normal precautions are taken, but panicking could lead you to make unsafe moves. It’s extremely important that your acrophobia is professionally treated as quickly as possible, particularly if heights are a regular part of your life.
Treatment for fear of heights
Acrophobia can share certain symptoms with vertigo, a medical disorder with a variety of possible causes, as well as with other specific phobias. For these reasons, if you experience the signs of acrophobia, it’s extremely important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Treatments for acrophobia include:
Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a main treatment for specific phobias. Behavioural techniques that expose you to the feared situation either gradually (systematic desensitization) or rapidly (flooding) are frequently used. In addition, you’re taught ways of stopping the panic reaction and regaining emotional control.
Exposure: Traditionally, actual exposure to heights is the most common solution. However, a research study published in 2017 demonstrated that virtual reality may be just as effective. A major advantage of virtual reality treatment is the savings in both cost and time, as there is no need for “on-location” therapist accompaniment. This method is not available everywhere, but with costs of virtual reality equipment coming down, it will likely be easier to access as time goes on.
Medication: Speak with your GP. It is common that beta-blockers may be used for short-term relief in specific situations, in order to help relieve the panic and anxiety you feel. The drug D-cycloserine has been in clinical trials for anxiety disorder treatment since 2008. A study in 2012 found that using the medication in tandem with cognitive-behavioural therapy may improve results. However, the study authors said more research on dosing and length of treatment time was needed.
Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy for fear of heights works to help reduce anxiety and stress. Using hypnosis, a hypnotherapist will look at the causes of your fear of heights. Hypnotherapy is a very safe way to deal with phobias and anxiety.
Relaxation and Mindfulness: Doing yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation can help you cope with stress and anxiety. Regular exercise can help too.