Acrophobia: Fear of Heights.

What is acrophobia? An estimated 400 million people on the planet experience heights panic. They cannot fly on an airplane, visit friends who live in skyscrapers, and do not visit ski resorts.

But what can we say, sometimes people with acrophobia are not able to climb a stepladder, walk across the bridge and just go to the balcony of the second floor to get some fresh air.

Even visiting shopping centers where there are escalators is beyond their power. Therefore, we can safely say that life is not easy for people who are afraid of heights.

People with the fear of heights experience such strong horror, getting to a height, that sometimes they are ready to jump down on their own, just to stop suffering. Moreover, this is said by individuals who are not prone to suicide.

But basically, 80% of people with this type of phobia have one reaction - they sit on the floor, feeling the support and cover their face with their hands, just not to see what is happening around.

By the way, absolutely all animals that are able to see and cannot fly are afraid to fall.

What are the reasons for acrophobia? Experts cannot say for sure why people are afraid of heights. This can be influenced by several factors, for example, genetic predisposition along with negative experiences.

Therefore, in each case, an individual approach is required, both in diagnosis and in treatment.

    But there are a number of reasons that are most common. So, acrophobia can be triggered by:
  • Brain damage due to trauma or inflammatory, infectious diseases.
  • The fear of height can be hereditary. The predisposition to mental disorders is inherited. If a close relative had a diagnosis, then there is high probability, for example, at a time of stress, that a person will not cope with feelings and, so to speak, acquire a phobia.
  • And speaking of stress. Life in tension, when a person is often facing emotional turmoil, does not pass without a trace. This is especially true for workaholics who are trying to cope with deadlines. The body wastes colossal resources in vain, which is why it fails at one moment.
  • Alcoholic or drug intoxication. Any kind of addiction, the so-called dependence, changes not only the state of human health, but also his perception of the surrounding reality, the type of behavior and character.
  • Negative experience. A fall from a height, even a small one, leaves an imprint in the memory. This is true both for an adult and for a child. It's just that children basically push the cause of fear out of memory, and when they grow up they cannot rationally explain where it came from. It is a little easier for mature people, they are able to tell what consequences this fall led to, how much it cost, and so on.
  • Parenting style. Authoritarian parents prone to despotism, both psychological and physical violence, form low self-esteem and a lot of fears in their children. Living in constant anxiety and fear is difficult, so the onset of acrophobia is not the worst thing that could happen.
  • Personality type. Sometimes it happens that no stressful situations are needed, the person himself is so sensitive and anxious that he will react violently to any little thing, as if something irreparable had happened to him.

By the way, it happens that this type of phobia is congenital, not acquired. But usually it is also accompanied by a fear of sounds and light.

Experts say that this is an echo of the memory of ancestors. The fear of heights allowed them to survive, since the probability of falling off the cliff was quite high. Moreover, in the dark, when they were fleeing from the predators that hunted them.

What are the signs of acrophobia? In general, an acrophobic person experiences the same symptoms that occur with other phobias, let it be a fear of horses or flowers in pots.

They will simply manifest themselves mainly when he thinks that he will fall, for example, from the stairs. Or he will find himself in the conditions that usually trigger an anxiety attack.

    What are the somatic manifestations of fear of heights?
  • Chest hurts and it seems that a heart attack is about to happen. That only intensifies the horror, since thoughts of an imminent death do not calm you down and do not give you the opportunity to pull yourself together.
  • Shortness of breath, breathing difficulty, which increases to the maximum. The level of oxygen in the blood rises, from an excess of which a person can lose consciousness.
  • Changes in the skin. That is, the skin either turns pale, or vice versa, turns red.
  • Tremor of the limbs and the whole body in general.
  • Digestion problems, nausea, vomiting.
  • It happens that chills are observed, despite, for example, high temperature in the room.
  • Sleep disorders that cannot be overcome without sleeping pills. That is, the acrophobic will not be able to fall asleep until after taking the pill. Despite the fact that the person’s eyes are closed, and he has no strength. It happens that nightmares are tormenting people, after which it is generally scary to go back to bed.
  • Frequent urge to use the toilet, despite the fact that the bladder is half empty.
    What are the psychological signs of acrophobia?
  • Low self-esteem is both a cause of this type of mental disorder and its consequence. It is impossible to feel self-confidence when there is always anxiety in the background. And it is not clear at what point the panic attack will manifest itself.
  • Aggressiveness. The anxiety that accompanies almost every step deprives you of the strength and resources to respond to any stimuli adequately. That is why a person responds with aggression to attempts to get closer to him and to talk.
  • Decreased cognitive ability. Due to worries, a person is unable to concentrate on the task at hand. He easily forgets the necessary information, is unable to solve a simple problem and, in general, to analyze some events in his life.
  • Frustration and tendency to pessimism. And this is understandable. It is difficult to rejoice every day when you are rather limited in your actions. That is, an acrophobic person cannot afford to go to a shopping center with friends, visit relatives, because they live in a multi-storey building. And what is most depressing is to choose a job you like. After all, you only have to look for those that are on the first floor.
  • Depression. Dealing with which is not so easy. A person loses interest in life, gets tired of constant unpleasant experiences. He ceases to look after his appearance, does not leave the house and loses his appetite. This all provokes thoughts of committing suicide, and in extreme cases, attempts that are completed successfully.

What is the treatment from acrophobia? Can a person be cured from fear of height? People with acrophobia usually make one mistake, instead of wondering how to stop being afraid of heights, they, having experienced physical discomfort as a reaction to fear, go to the doctors. Only they do not visit the doctors they need.

For example, they visit cardiologists, gastroenterologists, therapists. They undergo examinations, wait in long queues, pay bills and so on. In order, in the end, to find out that, in general, everything is in order with their health.

A psychotherapist will help get rid of a phobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, and gestalt therapy have worked well in this topic.

It is also useful to visit a psychiatrist. He will prescribe medications to help restore your sleep, improve your mood and relieve anxiety.

What are the recommendations for people with the fear of heights? Constant living in anxiety and stress wears out the cardiovascular and the nervous system. And this threatens with a heart attack, asthenia, psychosis and so on.

So, it is recommended to check out breathing techniques to help you beat stress and get rid of its negative effects. After all, it is impossible for a person to avoid situations that bother him, upset or anger him.

Reality is not as beautiful as we would like it to be. Therefore, it is important to be able to get rid of negativity and relax.

Meditation will also help you with this. Listen to yourself, your desires and enlist the support of your loved ones, perhaps they will keep you company in training.

Sergii Haranenko

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