Fear of Height, A Gear that can be Changed for the Better

Caused by many reasons including hereditary and unpleasant events, fear of height is more psychological, threatening all your daily chores, which can however be cured by counselling and other such methods.

Fear of height, called by many names such as Hypsiphobia, Hypsophobia Acrophobia, Altophobia, Aeroachrophobia and Batophobia is an emotional and physical aberration. When affected with this syndrome, your thought process will become markedly different while symptoms due to this are many and worrisome frustrating your day-to-day life. You will fear and abhor being in heightened places.

Symptoms:

This fear psychosis causes you to have far-reaching thoughts such that you postpone house repairs involving ladder use for climbing up, going up to floors in a hotel, and visiting friends’ homes for fear of climbing up to stairs and balconies.

Even entertainment will be a casualty in that you avoid playing roller-coaster, Ferris wheels and skiing due to their motion in heights. Driving on bridges or using escalators or elevators also will become dreadful for you. While at heightened locations, you’ll grow tendentious to crawl down and reach lower heights quickly, aiming for safety.

When you look down from a cliff, you get terribly shaken. Fear of height, as in any other phobia, is associated with sweat, nervousness, rapid heart beats and yelling. Overall, you may become stupefied and benumbed or frozen. Nausea, dry mouth and dizziness also may accompany.

Vertigo, also related to your fear of being in heights, is slightly different in its effects, and hence is not to be confused with your hypsiphobia fear of height.  Acrophobia is related to space and motion discomfort causing irrational fear of objects and situations giving you panic attacks while you remain in high places, whereas vertigo is a medical condition where you have a spinning feeling while at heights.

Reasons for some having hypsiphobia (fear of height):

Principal reasons vary as events-related traumas and familial descending or a mix of both.

1.Events-driven fear of height: Traumas or tragedies that might have happened earlier which you might have seen from close quarters might form one major reason for this type of fear. Due to its indelible impression on the mind, you may still be tormented by its vision and after-effects.

2.Heredity: Your forefathers might have had these fear-stricken effects due to heights in their life-time which might have been passed on to you through genes.

3.Brain chemistry: You may have fear of heights arising out of birth defects in your brain without any known cause.

4.Life experience:  Some life’s unpleasant experiences might have caused a dent in your mind which may further develop as hypsiphobia now.

  1. Mental weakness: Remaining always withdrawn and lacking mental will power contributes to fear of height.
  2. Lack of support and feeling of aloofness.

7.Lack of knowledge of the surroundings and realities.

  1. Negative thoughts such as “temptation to jump or the thought of somebody pushing you down from a height; thought of losing balance; and imagining that the building structure is weak and hence may collapse, may give rise to fear of heights.2
  2. Imagining that elevator car will crash, and that you’ll get giddiness and fear of falling with heart attack is another reason for this fear.
  3. Imagining to experience pain due to fall and injury from the height is also a cause of this fear of heights.

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Treatments:

Phobias, in general, are not curable by medicines. Contrariwise, the medicines taken will cause side-effects leaving behind a legacy of adverse withdrawal symptoms. At best the medicines can give temporary relief by suppressing the symptoms. It doesn’t mean it’s to be left uncared for. You’ve to consult a specialist and follow his/her treatment guidelines. Usually, techniques that are helpful in this process include Neuro-Linguistic programming, counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy.

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Neuro-Linguistic programming:

This involves studying the facial expressions and body movements while you express your symptoms of the phobia, and the therapist thereby making you understand the root cause and reorient your thought-process.

Hypnotherapy: The trained therapist speaks to your sub-conscious mind and gets to know the actual cause responsible for the phobia. New ideas and suggestions are then introduced with the sufferer for bringing about changes.

Energy Psychology: This combines various techniques such as Acupressure, Yoga and energy medicine for making small changes in lifestyles, which ultimately drives away your phobias.

Tips: For fighting Acrophobia, the fear phobia of height, the following tips will be of use.

  • First, understand that there’s nothing to fear except fear itself, as one philosopher remarked. So, ignore fear.
  • Have a positive disposition and be in control of yourself all the time. Nothing is impossible if you earnestly try.
  • Research and enrich yourself with more informations about phobias so that they will cease bothering you soon.
  • Make it a point to attend seminars, classes and discussions. Learn and exchange views about phobias which will surely banish fear from your mind in due course.
  • Be surrounded by motivators and positive-minded friends so that they always encourage you to shed fear at all times.
  • Books and magazines are unfailing friends. Read as many as possible on the subject. You’ll find yourself gradually released from the clutches of fear. One notable book for this will be: “Anxiety, Phobias and Panic: A Step by Step Program for Regaining Control of Your Life” by Reneau Peurifoy.

More a psychological phenomenon, Fear of height is a gear that can be changed for the better by consistent therapies and support from family and friends as above.