Feeling intense anxiety in the face of heights
The main symptom of acrophobia, as most of us know or perhaps some of us have experienced, is intense anxiety and fear of heights. Some people with acrophobia are afraid of greater heights, such as a high bridge, while others may be afraid of relatively shorter heights, such as being on a ladder.
Feeling intense fear and anxiety when looking at or standing at heights
Fear that something negative will happen, such as falling or becoming trapped while in a high place
Having a strong desire to escape when in a high place Experiencing rapid heartbeats when thinking or looking at heights
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded when thinking about or looking at heights
Psychological and physical symptoms, such as trembling and shortness of breath when you are in a high place, can help you understand whether you have a fear of heights.
Although there is no single proven treatment for acrophobia, various adjunctive therapies and facilitative tips can help you overcome your fear of heights. First of all, when you are in a high place, you can try the following to reduce your anxiety in the moment and deal with your fear of heights in the short term.
Fix your gaze on the horizon
Look at stationary objects near you
Focus on taking deep breaths
Sit or lie down if possible
Try to stand still for a while
Find something to distract yourself
Do a short meditation with your eyes closed.
While all of this may help you control your anxiety about heights for a short time, it will not be enough to completely eliminate your fear of heights. Therefore, seeking professional help and trying therapy methods can help you achieve more effective results. There are three types of therapy that are most effective and can speed up the process of overcoming fear of heights: Exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy.
Exposure therapy is the gradual, step-by-step, slow exposure to the source of the fear or anxiety in a way that helps people adapt to the situation and feel more comfortable in it. In the case of acrophobia, this source is height. An example of exposure therapy is when a specialized therapist creates situations in which the fear of heights is present.
Actions involving heights, such as rock climbing, walking on a trapeze or riding a roller coaster, are gradually practiced to overcome the fear. When you use exposure therapy to overcome your fear of heights, you have the opportunity to work through your fears and experience what it is like to be at heights and how to face them. However, you need to make sure that you do enough research to get the right professional help, as it can lead to greater trauma when applied without the right guidance and support from an expert.
In order to get the most out of all these therapies and overcome your fear of heights, there are 2 important things to consider: Patience and comparison. To overcome your fear of heights, it is important not to put yourself in a rigid time frame and to remember that everyone is unique, both in terms of the intensity of their fear and the time it may take to process and reduce it.