What is Fear of Heights?
The fear of heights also referred to as acrophobia or altophobia is one of the most common phobias and is an extremely distressing condition. This irrational, persistent fear of heights may occur when you have to climb a flight of stairs, use the escalator at a shopping center, drive near a cliff, stand on a ladder or enter a tall building.
Symptoms that may accompany this fear include panic attacks, shortness of breath, sweating and an irregular heartbeat. It can have a serious impact on your quality of life preventing you from personal and professional advancement. For this reason, you should face your fears and the live the life you were meant to have!
What Causes Fear of Heights?
The fear of heights may be caused an event in your past that you associate heights with some kind of emotional trauma. (link to emotional pain) It may also be as a result of a generalized fear of falling that brings about injury or death – this may be triggered by watching a scene on television of heights, a movie or observing someone else experience a traumatic event.
Because the unconscious mind is so powerful, it has the ability to make negative associations that involves attaching awful feelings to heights – this is how acrophobia can materialize in the mind.
Diagnosing Fear of Heights
The common symptoms and signs of fear of heights include:
- Sudden sense of panic or fear
- Heart palpitations
- Feels as though you have lost your balance (dizziness or vertigo)
- Feelings of dread or terror
Help for Fear of Heights
The aim of treatment is to help the individual overcome his or her fear of heights as well as control symptoms. Therapeutic approaches such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, systematic desensitization, flooding and exposure therapy has been shown to be quite successful in treating the fear of heights.
Therapists work together with you by focusing on changing the way that you react to the situation, teaching positive thought patterns as well as coping skills to deal with the panic and fear. Anxiety medication such as tranquilizers or beta blockers can also help to reduce physical symptoms; however these are very strong medications which may have side effects.
Natural and holistic treatments have proven to be beneficial for anxiety disorders and phobias. Treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies not only address the symptoms but overall health and wellbeing.
Herbs such as Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm), Lavandula augustifolia (Lavender) and Passiflora incarnata (Passion Flower) provides calming effect, balances emotional turmiol and supports nervous system health. Homeopathic ingredients such as Cocculus indicus, Lobelia inflata , Gelsemium and Bryonia alba reduces symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, disorientation and nausea which are associated with the fear of heights.