Fear of heights?

Fear of heights is a commonly occurring type of anxiety. If you have fear of heights, you experience an uncomfortable, stifling feeling when at some height. It is normal to be anxious when you are at a large height. Fear of heights makes it so that we would not just climb a mountain. It makes us tae precautions, so that we will not fall from a life-threatening height. Fear of heights is found in every human being, and has existed as long as man himself. Fear of heights thus is some type of survival mechanism of nature.

Fear of heights, however, can also become a phobia. This phobia is also sometimes called acrophobia. This type of fear of heights can even occur at heights which should not be scary at all. An example of this could be if you were to become very scared when having to cross a bridge. Crossing a bridge does not have life-threatening risks like mountain climbing does, for example. Yet, people with acrophobia still have the same symptoms which they would have if they would have to climb a mountain.

How do extreme forms of fear of heights develop?

Fear of heights can develop to become a phobia, for example after seeing someone fall. It often is an extremely negative experience which triggers a type of anxiety or phobia. Even seeing a fall can be so traumatic, that extreme types of fear of heights develop. The more extreme types of fear of heights generally occur in ages below 10 or above 50 years. Once such a negative experience has occurred, it can be so that the anxiety no longer remains linked to one type of situation. In extreme types of fear of heights you might not only be scared when having to cross a bridge, but possibly also when you are in an elevator, for example. Extreme types of fear of heights thus do not only limit themselves to what you have seen/experienced during the negative experience, but will rather become bigger and entail more and more.

What do you experience when fear of heights shows itself?

When you are confronted with fear of heights, you experience different anxiety symptoms. These symptoms can differ from time to time, but are generally the same.

When you experience fear of heights and end up in a scary situation, your heart will start beating faster, your breathing becomes more shallow, your muscles tense up, … This is a typical physical response to fear. Your body will get your ready to treat the anxious situation in a more efficient and quick way. For example, you will notice that you can run faster when you are scared.

Except for physical symptoms, there also are psychological symptoms of anxiety. For example, people often have the feeling that they are out of touch with reality and experience even depersonalization in more extreme types of fear of heights. This means that they have the feeling to no longer be into contact with reality or their body. You sort of feel like you float above your body and no longer have any control over your own functioning.

How can I reduce my fear of heights?

If you notice that your fear of heights does not only limit itself to situations which actually could be life-threatening, and when your fear of heights limits your daily life, it can be useful to look for treatment as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more time it tends to take to treat the symptoms.

An effective type of treatment for anxiety is behavioral therapy. In this type of therapy, the negative constructs of anxiety are treated and slowly replaced by healthy constructs.

“15Minutes4Me.com” is an online self-help program which makes use of behavioral therapy, combined with systematic solution focused therapy, in order to treat anxiety, depression, and stress from home. You can follow the program every day in order to work on your fears on a daily basis.

Test your fear of heights here!

Would you like to know which symptoms of fear of heights you experience? Then take the free anxiety test here!