Fear Of Heights

Psychiatry identifies three different categories of phobia:

Agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces. It is also a fear of having a panic attack in a public place, of losing control in an area from which escape may prove difficult or embarrassing.

Social Phobia is an irrational anxiety brought forth by exposure to certain social situations, leading to avoidance behaviour.

Specific Phobia is a persistent and irrational fear in response to some specific stimulus, which commonly results in avoidance of/withdrawal from that stimulus. It could be triggered by an insect or animal (zoophobia), by a situation like being trapped in an enclosed space (claustrophobia) or it could be a fear of disease (pathophobia).

Fear of heights is one of the most widespread of fears. In some situations a fear of heights is quite appropriate and a matter of common sense. According to psychologists, there are only two natural fears – fear of loud noises and fear of heights.

However, a morbid fear of high places, which is the definition of acrophobia, can be very bad for you. If you found yourself in a “high” situation, it would be much better for you to have your wits about you. Feeling an intense fear while inside a safe environment such as a skyscraper is not an appropriate response.

As with many fears, acrophobia often goes hand in hand with other phobias, a fear of flying in particular. As it is a fairly common phobia, many sufferers choose to live with it rather than try to get help, accommodating their lifestyle to the limitations. This can prove crippling to many aspects of life from holidays to accommodation, even limiting your possible career options.

The best methods for curing acrophobia involve gradual desensitisation, slowly exposing the sufferer to ever-greater heights while teaching them relaxation techniques that will enable them to maintain their presence of mind. Some of the methods that work best are NLP and timeline therapy.