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Effective Treatment Tips to Overcome Height Phobia

Height phobia

Effective Treatment Tips to Overcome Height Phobia

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
Reviewer:

Umar Javed

Dr. MBBS

Content

Height phobia is a serious condition that can significantly disrupt the life of someone affected. The statistics on height phobia are alarming. According to scientific studies [1*] , about 6% of the population experiences a fear of heights. Those afraid of heights may also have other associated conditions, such as vertigo, anxiety, or depression.

This article will explore the causes, treatments, and effects of height phobia in more detail.

Mental health professionals are here to free you from your unreasonable phobias. We will define the most effective treatment for you.

What Is Height Phobia?

Height phobia, also known as acrophobia, is associated with anxiety disorders. While some people experience a minor fear of heights, individuals with acrophobia find it difficult to function in such situations. This irrational fear can make them experience panic attacks, dizziness, and intense anxiety when faced with heights.

In extreme cases, acrophobia can be disabling, preventing a person from living a normal life. So, people with height phobia often avoid activities that involve heights, such as roller coasters, climbing, and flying.

What Causes Acrophobia?

While the exact cause of height phobia is unknown, some factors may contribute to its development, such as:

  1. Genetic predisposition. Researchers [2*] have suggested that height phobia may be influenced by genetics. Those with a family history of anxiety or phobias may be more likely to experience acrophobia.
  2. Traumatic experiences. Experiencing a traumatic event at a great height can make a person scared of heights. For example, someone who has fallen from a great height or witnessed a traumatic event involving heights may develop this phobia.
  3. Evolution. It is believed that humans have an innate fear of heights due to the potential for danger. This fear response is known as the fight-or-flight response and is triggered when we perceive a situation to be dangerous.
  4. Lack of control. Feeling out of control when at a great height can cause fear and anxiety. This may be due to a lack of knowledge of how to safely navigate a high place or to the feeling that you have no control over your environment.

You are not your fears! Let our doctors evaluate your symptoms to find the best treatment for the phobia.

The Symptoms of Height Phobia

A variety of specific situations can trigger the fear of heights. Common triggers include being in an elevator or an airplane, looking out a high window, or standing on a tall chair. Even looking at photographs or videos of heights can trigger an acrophobic response in a person who deals with this condition.

Common physical symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Muscle tension

The psychological symptoms of acrophobia can be just as intense as the physical ones and can include the following:

  • Intense fear and anxiety
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feeling of dread
  • Panic attacks
  • Avoidance of heights
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Difficulty concentrating

Stop being intimidated by the fear of heights, and make a decision towards a fearless future!

Acrophobia treatment

What Are the Acrophobia Treatment Options?

Acrophobia can be a debilitating and frightening condition, but it is possible to manage and treat it with the help of professionals.

Psychotherapy

  • Exposure therapy. It involves gradually exposing a person to their fear in a safe and controlled setting. The therapist begins by talking about the fear, then gradually adds activities that involve exposure to heights, such as looking out of a window or standing near the edge of a balcony. The goal is to help the person slowly become comfortable with the fear and eventually be able to confront it without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET). It uses virtual reality to create a simulated environment in which individuals can confront their fear of heights in a controlled space. During the therapy, a person will be exposed to a variety of virtual environments that gradually increase in difficulty, from low-level heights such as bridges and staircases to higher-level ones such as skylines and mountaintops.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). During the CBT sessions, a therapist will help the person recognize and challenge their irrational fears. For example, a therapist may ask the patient to imagine themselves in a situation where they are facing their fear and then ask them to evaluate the thoughts and feelings they experience. The therapist may also teach relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, to help the patient manage their anxiety.

Medications

Medication is not the first line of treatment for acrophobia. However, medications may be used to help manage symptoms, such as anxiety, that are associated with the condition.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They are a type of antidepressant medication that works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.
  • Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are sedatives that can help reduce anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Beta-blockers. Beta-blockers reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart rate.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs work by blocking the enzyme monoamine oxidase. This can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Only a doctor can prescribe medicine in terms of your treatment plan, so make sure you follow their instructions closely to achieve the best results.

How to Get Rid of Acrophobia?

Ultimately, height phobia can be managed and overcome with the right support and resources. The combination of exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques can be highly effective in helping people to reduce their fear of heights. In the long run, treatment will also lead to gaining a renewed sense of self-confidence.

If you are seeking expert help regarding anxiety or phobias, an online mental health center MEDvidi is the right place. Certified MDs from your state will assist you on your way. They will develop an individual treatment plan and prescribe you meds if necessary.

Sources

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+2 sources
  1. Visual height intolerance and acrophobia: clinical characteristics and comorbidity patterns. (2015)
    Source link
  2. A genome-wide screen for acrophobia susceptibility loci in a Finnish isolate. (2016)
    Source link
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
Reviewer:

Umar Javed

Dr. MBBS
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.