WHAT IS ACROPHOBIA OR FEAR OF HEIGHTS?
A 5% of the world population suffers from acrophobia. It is quite common to have a certain respect for heights , especially if we are aware of the effect of gravity , however, on some occasions an exaggerated fear becomes latent, always represented with a possible loss of the notion of balance that can be confused with the vertigo caused by heights.
It is normal that many of the people who are reading this article suffer from a certain fear of heights , to the point of experiencing moments of intense anxiety in the face of a vacuum, but this feeling is considered normal if it is controllable and does not reach extremes of experiencing attacks from panic in high places, or even to cases like avoiding taking a plane due to this feeling.
THE MAIN SYMPTOMS OF ACROPHOBIA
The acrophobia should not be confused with fear of heights can usually feel the 95% of humans.
A person with acrophobia experiences panic instantly just by climbing, for example, to a 28th floor or the roof of a building. As we can see, these phobia problems arise in totally safe places and present the following symptoms:
- Possible sweating
- Significant increase in heart rate
- Impending loss of balance
- Searching for a place to lean on
- Possible panic attack
- Latent anxiety
However, all these symptoms will depend on each particular case and the symptomatic picture may vary depending on the person and their ability to assimilate the danger, but as a common point we can see that who suffers it tends to try not to practice any type activity related to heights.
As in all phobias, there are multiple levels of affectation. Cases of patients who avoid visiting a friend who lives on a 30th floor or who has large balconies or even climbing a ladder so as not to feel the experience of being able to fall.
This phobia should not be confused with outdoor phobia, which affects the patient to the point of not being able to even leave the house.
Certain studies ensure that acrophobia is present in a large number of people but at such low levels that it does not represent a phobia itself.
Like other phobias , it is simply an overreaction as a consequence to a situation: the fear of heights. Sometimes this can be inherited from a trauma from the past.
THE CAUSES THAT ORIGINATE ACROPHOBIA
The causes that originate the origin of this phobia can be diverse.
The acrophobia could have been caused by some traumatic experience that the person could have due to an incident in the heights.
It could also lie in the experience lived by someone close or the viewing of a video or film; audiovisual material can wreak havoc on the psyche.
There are different studies on acrophobia including that of animals and babies that have shown that nature has a stamp of fear of heights as a respect and precaution against losing their lives in the face of imminent danger.
TREATMENT OF HOW TO OVERCOME THE PHOBIA OF HEIGHTS
It consists of minimizing the problem in the eyes of the patient so that the phobia gradually decreases. Treat it with a specialist to get, as a starting point, to the root of the phobia.
Relaxation therapies help reduce anxiety levels.
The affected person can undergo several psychological therapies simultaneously, so that the anxiety caused by the phobia gradually diminishes.
There are certain breathing techniques that contribute very effectively to reducing the levels of stress and anxiety generated by the phobia or unexplained fear.
After this first therapeutic stage, another of the treatments to combat acrophobia is simply to face the problem gradually accompanied by psychotherapeutic talks .
Show images of safe places that are at a considerable height but that offer a sense of security and appear people with apparent calm.
Little by little, the patient will become familiar with the heights, until he can stay in high places where he feels more and more secure.
Eliminating negative thoughts is an important foundation of therapy.
These are fear generators and associate heights with the fear response.
It is good to observe places that have a certain degree of height, it will make you feel much better in addition to associating the heights with feelings of relaxation and tranquility.
Finding elevated places that transmit peace, such as a mountain, a chillout on a roof, will be a good technique to associate relaxation with height.
Acrophobia must be fought in a progressive way, starting with places with less altitude, until becoming familiar with them and thus managing to increase.
We must remember that the first step in the cure of the fear of heights is to first recognize and accept it through therapy sessions . With it, it is common to experience strong emotions in order to get used to negative thoughts.
It is often normal to feel that fear will never be overcome , but therapy is an opportunity for improvement.
There are a large number of experiences such as some extreme sports, climbing a cable car or a mountain that, despite causing a certain fear, leave a beautiful memory in the mind. Not enjoying them because of an unjustified fear, is perhaps to stop living incredible moments.
Small rewards such as lived experiences can serve as rewards to reduce anxiety and make the patient feel motivated to leave acrophobia behind.
Do not deprive yourself of enjoying places in the great heights and start to stand up to acrophobia .
Although it is true that statistically women are more likely to present a greater number of episodes of anxiety , in the case of this type of phobia of heights , acrophobia , there is no gender distinction and it can occur suddenly and without precedent.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.