Are you afraid of heights?

Maggie Morrow, counselling, CBT therapy, life coach and psychotherapist London. MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, BSc Psychology, Adv Dip, UKCP.
Author: Maggie Morrow, Award Winning Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Life Coach
Last updated: 16th March 2023

Fear of heights

A fear of heights may be irrational and excessive to the onlooker, but it’s a very real anxiety disorder and a frightening experience for those who suffer from it. Of course, there are varying degrees of severity – some people may be just about able to manage a flight journey, while others would rather drive an extra 50 miles than go over a bridge.

There are actually several height related phobias including:

• Acrophobia – an extreme fear of heights where the person may only be able to function at ground level
• Aeroacrophobia – an irrational fear of open high places such as being in an aeroplane or in a hot air balloon, or on top of a mountain
• Illyngophobia – an extreme fear of spinning and dizziness, usually due to the height
• Climacophobia – an irrational fear of going/climbing down for a great height such as ladders, stairs or slopes
• Bathmophobia – an extreme fear of stairs or slopes, regardless of whether they’re being climbed

The symptoms of height related anxiety vary from one person to the next and can include sweating and cold flushes, trembling and dizziness, a racing heartbeat and a sense of panic, tight chest, nausea, numbness and many others.

If you encounter someone who is in an acute state of panic, you can help by providing empathy and reassurance. Stay with the person and, if possible, move them to a quiet space where the view to the ground cannot be seen. Be calm and explain in short sentences that s/he is not in danger and that you will help them get back down as soon as possible.

Living with a phobia means living in fear – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Therapy can be extremely effective for treating phobias such as being scared of heights. Counselling can help you confront your fear head on and learn to overcome it completely. The particular treatment option depends on the individual concerned, but the most common approaches include:

• Talking therapy (Counselling)
• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
• Exposure Therapy

Alternative therapies such as Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) may also be helpful.

Alternative therapies such as Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) may also be helpful.

At KlearMinds, our therapists have many years’ experience of dealing with all kinds of phobias including a fear of heights. For more information or to book an appointment, please call 0333 7720256 or get in touch here.

Fear of heights - Trift Bridge

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Maggie Morrow, counselling, CBT therapy, life coach and psychotherapist London. MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, BSc Psychology, Adv Dip, UKCP.

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