Acrophobia is one of the most common types of phobias today, on average at least 15% of the world population has symptoms that are associated with this condition. Those who suffer from it usually experience a high degree of anxiety about the possibility of facing situations where they are at great height.

It is characterized by limiting people to carry out any activity that implies being at a high altitude . This is applicable to situations as diverse as standing on a terrace, leaning out of a window, climbing to the top of a mountain, using a ladder or also observing a panoramic view of a landscape from above.

In psychology, several types of phobias have been identified, each one of them has particular characteristics that differentiate them. However, in common they generate in the affected people a complex picture of anxiety, this will also be made up of other symptoms that affect their performance in daily activities .

Specifically in the case of acrophobia, it has been concluded that there are more women than men . It is estimated that 15%, approximately 2% or 5% are represented by individuals of the male gender. It has become one of the most common phobias is because in recent years the cases of this type have increased considerably.

What is acrophobia? 

Acrophobia is defined as a type of phobia that is characterized by feeling inordinate fear in situations where it faces heights. In other words, it is an irrational fear that is only experienced by people who fear heights. Consequently, certain activities of daily life cannot be carried out by patients who have been diagnosed with this condition.

It is considered that the reaction generated by acrophobia is not an adaptive response to the perception of a real danger . The person assumes that he is facing a threat to which he must react immediately, however this perception can be magnified or erroneous. Phobias generally cause people to develop behaviors that are described as exaggerated and that do not fit the circumstances.

Psychologically it is described as an unwarranted fear that is motivated by fear of heights. This occurs at specific times and those who suffer from it experience different levels of anxiety . Symptoms vary depending on the person, however the first symptoms can generally be observed from childhood or during adolescence.

What are the characteristics of acrophobia? 

The main characteristic of acrophobia is feeling irrational fear of heights. This means that people who suffer from this condition do not have control of themselves in situations in which they must face up to the challenge. The reaction they manifest is usually exaggerated, they could try to flee or avoid it. Other salient features are described below:

  • It will generate anxiety in people who suffer from it, if they have not previously manifested anxiety, they eventually end up developing it.
  • The most common behavior is to flee from these feared situations. They could also use any excuse that allows them to avoid it.
  • Generally, the manifestations described above intensify, with the passage of time other symptoms may also develop, such as dizziness or spasms .
  • They even try to avoid thinking about these situations , any indication that they are dealing with the subject of height quickly begins to feel symptoms of fear.
  • The vertigo always related to height, this is common sense of insecurity which describes the fear rush vacuum.
  • Negative thought patterns are usually generated that are a clear indication of insecurity and fear of falling .
  • It causes physiological symptoms that are typical of this condition. In each person they are different but generally they tend to be zero written as a feeling of pain or lack of control.

What are your causes? 

Until now, different hypotheses have been used that could describe the origin of the development of this condition. Psychologists agree that in most cases begins to from a traumatic event , the great impact it has on patients eventually causes accrues on the condition of the phobia.

Another possibility is self-management, which consists of the individual himself thinking that finally quality at a great height. When you constantly think about the same idea, you finally begin to believe in it. It is likely that in these cases, knowing what the consequences of falling are, you feel helpless because you cannot change them in the event of an accident.

Taking into consideration the previous hypothesis, the survival instinct itself must also be taken into consideration . That is, it is a phobia that can develop from this same instinct but generating exaggerated reactions.

In the case of previous bad experiences, these individuals may have developed a trauma that requires treatment. It is undeniable that most of the cases have an origin in some type of accident or situation that had serious consequences . In these cases it is always advisable to have the help of a psychology professional who can provide the most appropriate treatment.

The locomotion refers to the peripheral vision which allows us to move within a space. This ability can be compromised in some people, having a vision deficit could be the cause of beginning to feel is a phobia.

As for genetic inheritance, it is one of the possible causes in certain patients. Parents can pass on biological information to their children that will make them zero prone to developing this particular condition. This last proposal usually has detractors because it is still in the study phase, which means that there is still not enough evidence to support this assumption.

What is your treatment? 

There is a wide variety of treatments that have been designed to help people with acrophobia. Some may have greater and better results in certain individuals, however it is important not to rule out the possibility that some of them are effective.

It is important to provide professional medical help because it can become a life-limiting problem for the patient. Therapies are generally applied in which the problem must be dealt with directly. However, in these cases they must be done carefully and properly because it can aggravate the condition .

Cognitive therapy consists of conducting clinical psychological tests, the purpose of which is to select the one that best suits the patient’s condition. The help it provides depends on the identification of the reason for which said fear was generated, for this the medical professional analyzes the behavior and other characteristic symptoms. The purpose is to provide tools to learn to control symptoms.

With behavioral therapy similar results are achieved. In this case it is very important to make patients face the phobia in real situations. Eventually he will have to get used to it that at certain times he will not be able to avoid it.

Some therapies precisely describe that they are based on systematic destabilization. In most cases, applying techniques in which the patient will be subjected to their fears but gradually have better results.

At first you can create a context that is similar to the situation you fear the most. You can use virtual reality that different current technological equipment provides us. In recent years, psychologists have relied on these resources to provide patients with safer exposure. In addition, it provides the ability to show a situation that is as realistic as possible.

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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.

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