As much as I love heights, there is a fear called Acrophobia.
This is different from aerophobia and vertigo. The three are casually interchanged by some people who are definitely an incorrect practice. Getting to know acrophobia in-depth will help you recognize its huge disparity from the two.
What is acrophobia?
Acrophobia is simply the fear of heights. If you are suffering from this, you may panic when standing from an elevated area. You may instinctively look for something you may cling to fall so as. You may feel like you can not trust your sense of balance and due to this, you may descend immediately or crawl on all fours. You may also automatically lower your body. Your system responds to the situation, and you may start to sweat, shake, and palpitate. You may feel extremely terrified and may let go of a big yell or cry out.
This is different from aerophobia because aerophobia is the fear of flying. This is also different from vertigo because vertigo is a sudden feeling of dizziness regardless of where you are located.
Having a phobia of heights could be very crippling because even the mere imagination of height could make you feel dreadful. For instance, you may worry about your upcoming vacation just because your hotel room might be located on a high floor. You may also delay some home repairs because you fear of using the ladder. You may also avoid visiting families and friends whose homes have balconies.
Origin of Acrophobia
Studies showed that it is normal for people to have a certain fear around heights. This is true for both humans and animals. The fear of heights seems to be partially ingrained and may be a part of defense or survival mechanism. Like all phobias, acrophobia seems to be an over-reaction of the normal fear response. Experts say that this is possibly a learned response from a parent’s nervous reaction to height or from a previous fall.
Major Effect of Acrophobia
The major and most gruesome effect of fear of heights is it limits a person to live a normal life just to avoid the dreaded situation. Although it may be relatively safe, a panic attack that may happen when you are standing at height can lead to unsafe moves. For instance, if you were up on a chair and you suddenly imagined you were going to lose balance and fall off, that thing may just happen. Therefore, it is very important that you seek medical advice as soon as possible, especially if heights are an ordinary part of your life. How could you get on the elevator or climb flights of stairs to reach the office if you have this phobia?
Treatment of Acrophobia
The main treatment choice for fear of heights is CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is a kind of therapy that exposes the patient to the dreaded situation either rapidly (flooding), or gradually (systematic desensitization). Also, the patient is also taught on how to stop and control panic attacks and how to regain emotional stability during feared situations.
The actual exposure to height was traditionally the most common solution. However, some studies showed that virtual reality might also be effective. This contemporary way saves costs and time, and there will be no need for “on-location” therapists. Many patients opt for this whenever available.
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