A fear of heights is one the fears and phobias that seem logical, it makes sense to be fearful of heights. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little uneasy as you peer down from the top of an unnatural height. However, for some people their response to standing on a chair can result in extreme panic and vertigo making it impossible to do simple things like climbing stairs.
If you struggle with a fear of heights, to the point that it makes your life difficult, don’t worry – you can overcome it!
Like any fear or phobia there are varying degrees of response when it comes to heights. For some it’s the thought of flying or going on the London Eye and simply just avoid doing these things for others they are crippled by fear at the thought of climbing a ladder and will think nothing of planning their road trip to avoid going over bridges.
There are a number of height related phobias. Here are the main ones:
Acrophobia is the most common and defined as an extreme or irrational fear or phobia of heights, especially when one is not particularly high up.
Those with aeroacrophobia will tremble and sweat at the sight of open high places, such as at the top of a mountain, in a hot air balloon, or even being on an airplane.
Illyngophobia is the irrational fear of feeling dizzy or vertigo when looking down. It’s not necessarily a fear of heights, but more fearful of getting dizzy due to the height.
This is more uncommon and is specifically the fear of climbing or going down from a great height, especially stairs, slopes or ladders.
This is similar to Climacophobia but those with bathmorphobia people experience extreme fear just by simply seeing or observing stairs or slopes.
Symptoms can vary greatly between individuals but here are some of the common symptoms associated with a fear of heights:
Often a fear of heights develops in response to a traumatic experience involving heights, such as:
But as with other phobias it is entirely possible that they can develop without any conscious recollection of a traumatic event.
For example, you may be more likely to have a fear of heights if someone else in your family does, this becomes a learnt phobic response.
If you find yourself in a situation that requires you to be at a height, here are some ideas on how you can manage the fear response:
Be Prepared – Like a good boy scout, if you know you need to be in a situation that will require you to be at a height, take some time to prepare yourself mentally.
Take it Slowly – One step at a time start by setting yourself some small initial goals, such as standing on a chair or climbing one more rung on the ladder. Just work at this gradually and you may be surprised how quickly it becomes more comfortable.
Remember to Breathe – It is an automatic response when we panic to breath rapidly, so remember to breath slowly, ensure you get lots of oxygen into your brain by focusing on taking deep, slow, regular breaths.
Visualise Yourself Overcoming Your Fear – Create a mental movie of you having achieved your goal and make sure you really allow yourself to get into all the positive feelings of pride and accomplishment that go with that!
Medications can be used used in the treatment of phobias, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines to control your symptoms, to get your through a flight. However this is not a long term solution and doesn’t treat the problem, only the symptoms.
There are various therapeutic approaches that are extremely effective in treating the cause of phobias, including fear of heights. The most common approaches include:
I have successfully worked with many people to overcome all sorts of fears and phobias, if you are ready to Take the first step to conquering your fear then please get in touch
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