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Do You Have a Fear of Heights?

 

The causes of fear of heights, why people suffer from it and methods of treatment available to overcome fear of heights…

 

‘Acrophobia’ is the fear of heights and it is something that many people have, in fact it is one of the most common phobias. It can be such a strong fear in some people that they will avoid any situation which may make them feel vulnerable. Fear of heights can vary hugely, making people feel unsafe from simply standing on a chair, climbing up a ladder or being at the top of a building. It causes feelings of panic and exposure, making people not trust their sense of balance as if they were about to fall at any second.
 
Some people who have extreme Acrophobia may feel paralyzed and unable to move…
 
 

WHAT IS ACROPHOBIA?

 
Acrophobia is the term used for people who have a fear of heights. The symptoms can range from feeling slight unease, sweating, heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, physical sickness and shaking. Someone who has acrophobia may feel it to such an extreme that they sit down quickly, for fear of falling or losing their balance. Vertigo is closely associated with a fear of heights because Acrophobia can develop the same physical symptoms than those who suffer from vertigo, such as dizziness or a falling or spinning sensation. Real vertigo is a medical condition that causes these feelings but is not necessarily from Acrophobia. A typical reaction of someone who fears heights is to quickly get down on the floor so that they feel safer, although some people who have extreme Acrophobia may feel paralyzed and unable to move.
 
A fear of heights is somewhat embedded in humans and is possibly an inbuilt survival mechanism…
 
 

WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE A FEAR OF HEIGHTS?

 
In 1960 research psychologists Gibson and Walk carried out an experiment called the ‘Visual Cliff’. The experiment showed babies crawling near a thick glass panel that covered a high drop-off. When the babies were called by their mother trying to convince them that it was safe, they still refused to cross the glass panel. Gibson and Walk therefore concluded that a fear of heights is somewhat embedded in humans and is possibly an inbuilt survival mechanism. The causes of fear of heights is an extreme or hyper-reaction to the natural or normal fear that is ingrained in us. Experts suggest that Acrophobia is either a learned response from something we have experienced when younger, our parents influence if they have a fear of heights, or perhaps even a memory from a past life.
 
A method of systematic desensitization can be used where the sufferer is gradually exposed to the feared situation…
 
 

WAYS TO HELP FEAR OF HEIGHTS

 
Some people have found that Acrophobia has severely influenced or restricted their life to the point when they have had to do something about it. Understanding the causes of fear of heights will help to work out a way to minimise the feelings, eventually giving you a method to overcome a fear of heights.
 
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY – Also known as CBT, is a treatment applied to many phobias. It teaches us behavioural techniques in how to stop the panicking and gain control of how we react physically and emotionally. A method of systematic desensitization can be used where the sufferer is gradually exposed to the feared situation.
 
EXPOSURE TO HEIGHTS – This has been a long-standing traditional method in teaching people to overcome fear of heights. Research shows that this is an effective treatment as it allows the person to acknowledge the causes of fear of heights and to deal with them in real life.
 
VIRTUAL REALITY EXPOSURE THERAPY – As research has proved that exposure to heights is possibly the best method to overcome fear of heights, scientists and psychologists have created a virtual reality treatment. The therapy puts the sufferer in situations where they are at a distance from the ground, only moving on to the higher stage once they feel comfortable.
 
SELF-HELP METHODS – Self-help methods to combat causes of fear of heights is very much a gradual process of exposing yourself to heights. For example, the first stage may be looking at a photograph until you feel comfortable, then moving on to watching a video, the next stage may be standing on a chair until you feel confident. The self-help method is about encouraging yourself to gain control of your fear of heights slowly but surely.
 
 

HOW WE CAN HELP

 

 Fear and anxieties can become exaggerated in our minds if we allow our worries to take over. Having doubts about the future or worrying about a present situation will not necessarily help, and many of us need comforting reassurance that there will be positive times ahead. Speak to the UK’s most gifted readers at TheCircle for expert guidance from experienced and professional Tarot readers, psychics, clairvoyants and mediums.

 
 
PUBLISHED: 19 September 2016
 
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