What is Acrophobia?
Acrophobia is described as an extreme, paralyzing fear of heights. This is one of the most common phobias which cause an intense, irrational fear of objects or situations. Most people may generally feel a bit apprehensive when looking down from a very steep cliff – this is considered a natural even appropriate feeling.
However, when you experience panic attacks, rapid breathing, nausea and dizziness or vertigo when walking onto a balcony, going up a flight of stairs, standing on a ladder or driving over a bridge, your fear has now become an irrational obsession. Acrophobia can have a negative impact on your life, limiting career opportunities as well as affecting simple day-to-day situations such as helping your child out of a tree, making holiday choices or changing a light bulb.
What Causes Acrophobia?
Acrophobia may occur as a result of a traumatic experience from your past, or a normal fear of falling that causes injury or death. When the fear becomes so extreme that it turns into a phobia, the unconscious mind uses acrophobia to protect the body from fearful situations. In other words, the situation is perceived far more dangerous than it actually is and the body reacts with a fight or flight response.
The common symptoms and signs of acrophobia include:
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Trembling and shaking
- Feeling faint
- Feelings of panic and dread
Help for Acrophobia
Various treatment options are available to treat anxiety disorders and phobias. Acrophobia is most commonly treated with a range of therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy which includes desensitization and flooding. These therapies exposes the person to staged situations involving high places and slowly helps him or her to develop coping skills, increases confidence and change thought patterns to manage fear and anxiety.
Certain anti-anxiety medications such as anti-depressants and tranquilizers may be prescribed to control physical symptoms but will not solve the underlying problem and may come with added side effects. In addition, hypnotherapy, guided mental imagery or muscle relaxation training may be used to complement other treatment approaches.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies can offer effective relief for the symptoms associated with acrophobia without the risk of side effects. These remedies are a natural alternative that are safe and gentle to use within the body.
A combination of herbs such as Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm), Lavandula augustifolia (Lavender) and Passiflora incarnata (Passion Flower) helps to soothe nerves and maintain a positive outlook. Carefully selected homeopathic ingredients such as Cocculus indicus, Lobelia inflata, Gelsemium and Bryonia alba can help to relieve dizziness, nausea, disorientation and sweating – often associated with panic attacks.