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People with acrophobia often avoid situations where they will be exposed to heights. When faced with heights or anticipating them, their sympathetic nervous system is aroused, as if preparing the body for an emergency.This arousal helps either approach or escape from a threat (commonly known as the fight-or-flight response).Simply thinking about climbing a ladder can lead to intense fear and anxiety.
Whether you are an individual suffering from the fear of heights, or knows someone who does, this brief guide is written for you.
Here we shall study the causes, symptoms and treatment options for the fear of heights, which is also known as acrophobia.
Some people can't watch it - it makes them feel sick, they get sweaty palms and they start to hyperventilate. Acrophobia can range from fear when on the top floor of a tall building, to fear of standing on a chair.
That's a pretty extreme reaction to standing on a chair!
They may experience vertigo (a moving or spinning sensation), increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, anxiety, shaking or trembling, and nausea or an upset stomach.
A fight-or-flight response can be adaptive in dangerous situations, because it can help us respond to dangerous situations.This suggests that people are born with a dislike of heights.However, most children and adults are a bit nervous around heights, but they don't have a phobia. Are people more likely to be afraid of heights if their parents are?Instead, acrophobia is somehow hardwired so people have this fear before they first come into contact with heights.Evolutionary psychologists suggest people who are afraid of heights are more likely to escape from this potentially dangerous situation or avoid it altogether.So, what leads some people to feel anxious even thinking about climbing the ladder? About one in three people say they experience some discomfort or distress when exposed to heights. The term acrophobia is reserved for people with extreme, irrational and persistent fears of heights and situations associated with them.It’s one of the so-called natural environment phobias, which also include a fear of thunder and lightning (astraphobia) or water (aquaphobia).Fear of heights or Acrophobia is a debilitating anxiety disorder that affects nearly 1 in every 20 adults.The word is derived from the Greek word “Acron” meaning heights and “phobos” meaning fear.There are two main perspectives about how acrophobia develops.Broadly, fears and phobias are either innate (evolutionary perspective) or learned (behaviourist perspective).