How To Overcome The Fear Of Heights

Extreme fear of heights, known as acrophobia, affects an estimated 5 percent of the population. [1] X PubMed Central Trusted Source Go to source Each of us feels a degree of anxiety on the edge of a high and dangerous place, but for some, this fear causes complete weakening and paralysis. If your fear of heights is so strong that it affects your performance at school or at work, or interferes with daily activities, then it is probably acrophobia. Learn more about this phobia and learn effective methods to get rid of it.

Understand your fear and face it if necessary

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Identify the triggers of your fear and its intensity.Because you are likely to experience extreme stress on the mere thought of staying at a height, you will need specialized treatment for phobias, instead of regular therapy for other types of anxiety disorders. In addition to anxiety, you may experience other physiological changes such as increased heart rate, blood pressure and increased sweating. If you do experience such changes, the usual treatment for anxiety disorders will not be appropriate for you and you will need to undergo specialized treatment for your phobia. If the symptoms of your fear do not reach that intensity, then you can probably alleviate your anxiety about being at heights with a little practice. On the other hand, if your fear reaches a level that you are unable to deal with on your own, then you will need to undergo therapy or treatment with various medications.

For example, have you ever turned down a job offer because the workplace was located on higher floors? Did you miss the opportunity to meet someone important just because he made an appointment with you at an elevated place? If so, it may indicate a much more serious condition than just “fear of heights” – such as phobia or other anxiety disorder.

If you are not sure how many times the fear of heights has thwarted you something important, sit still and try to write everything down. Remember all the times when you didn’t do something you wanted or had to do, just because of your fear. By writing down all such situations, you will get a better perspective on how this phobia has a significant effect on your life.

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Consider the potential harmfulness of the situations you are afraid of. Phobia is by definition an “irrational” fear of experiences that most people do not consider dangerous. But if your fear is relatively small, we can put things in perspective by referring to statistics. The things that usually trigger the fear of heights (skyscrapers, airplanes, roller coasters, etc.) are in most cases incredibly safe. Such objects are specially designed to be as durable and secure as possible. Nevertheless, it is very easy to forget how unlikely you are to suffer any damage during such routine activities as traveling by plane or working in a tall building.

Depending on the specific airlines, you run the risk of a plane crashing with you, about 1 in 20,000,000. Compare these chances with the risk of being struck by lightning, which is 1 in 1,000,000.

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Relax. Relaxation activities that focus primarily on the mental state, such as yoga or meditation, have a big effect on how fear affects your life. But it can also be something as simple as practicing deep breathing and thinking at the same time about situations that cause you fear. Instead of breathing exercises, you can enroll in yoga classes and be guided by an expert. Similar activities will help you better understand how your emotions are connected to physiological processes such as breathing, heart rhythm, sweating and more.

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Physiological processes associated with phobias and anxiety can be greatly maintained within tolerable limits through regular exercise, adequate sleep and a healthy diet. Start lightly with gradual changes – for example, regular walks or eating homemade smoothies instead of fatty delicacies.

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Consider removing caffeine from your diet. Caffeine consumption contributes to the anxiety associated with acrophobia. If you stop its supply or at least significantly reduce it, you will help yourself from the symptoms of fear of heights. In addition, reducing caffeine will relieve you of nervousness and keep you more calm, which is a better starting point for fighting your own fears.

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Gradually expose yourself to your own fear. Try to expose slowly and progressively to situations that require a stay at heights. You can easily start, for example, by reading a book on the balcony on the second floor. The next step can be, for example, a trip to a high hill and a look back into the valley. Once you get used to the level of emotional stress, move on to a higher level. If possible, take on a similar activity from a partner who will give you the necessary feeling of security. Rejoice in every success, be proud of it and do not lose the set pace. With a little patience, you can work your way up to celebrations in the form of bungee jumping, for example.

It can be very difficult to force yourself into things that are sure to make you nervous. Put in front of you such challenges that will “push” you to confront the fear of heights. For example, if you are on a pilgrimage somewhere and a friend invites you to ride a roller coaster, take the initiative and boldly go buy tickets. If you invest something in the activity yourself, then you are more likely to actually participate. Remember that you can calm down with the help of relaxation techniques.

Try therapy

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Know your personal limits. If you are still running out of different opportunities due to your fear of heights and you have already tried to face it, then it is time to consider longer-term treatment options. Explore all these possibilities in depth and do not let yourself be limited by your fear.

Studies have shown that the different types of procedures you encounter during treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can be very helpful in overcoming specific types of phobias, such as acrophobia.

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Choose the therapist that will suit your needs. There are many different schools and streams of psychotherapy, from those using traditional psychoanalytic methods to existential and alternative approaches. The goal of any treatment program should be to help safely and gradually alleviate your fears and to teach anxiety management at the same time. Therapy can be supplemented with medication. As a result, you must decide which therapy is best for you, and you should consider certain aspects, including:

Accreditation. Review the education and certification of considered therapists and counselors before beginning a therapeutic program. Try to find a therapist who will have relevant education in the field and, if possible, experience in the treatment of phobias or anxiety.

Experience. Look for therapists who have extensive experience, which results in a greater number of happy and healthy patients. If possible, talk to some of these patients. Ask them if the therapy was effective and pleasant and if they would recommend the therapist. Pay special attention to therapists who seem suspiciously inexperienced or are reluctant to provide evidence of their claimed success.

Method of treatment. Most trusted therapists use modern scientific techniques that have been reviewed in respected medical publications. However, alternative and holistic methods, which have already been scientifically researched, also work very well for many people.

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Visit a therapist and discuss your acrophobia with him. Once you have found a suitable candidate for the position of new therapist, arrange a session with him and evaluate whether you have made the right choice. There are a number of therapists, and each of them will approach phobia in a different way, but we can still say that the vast majority of them will start therapy by challenging you to describe your fear of heights. They will ask you how long you have been suffering from this fear, what problems it is causing you, etc. Be completely honest with the therapist. The more relevant information you provide, the more likely it will help you.

Also, share with the therapist your feelings about which techniques and methods you think work and which don’t work.

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Learn anxiety management techniques. During therapy, you will probably learn to confront and control your anxiety. You won’t get rid of it directly, but you will be able to manage it better. With the help of a therapist, you will learn to manage crisis situations in a different way than before and you will gradually begin to adjust your thoughts and feelings. Therapy should teach you to come to terms with what you can and must accept.

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Gradually undergo exposure therapy. One of the ways that some (but not all) therapists use to desensitize patients is progressive exposure to fear-inducing stimuli. It starts with relatively small stimuli and progresses to a higher level with gradually increasing patient tolerance. For example, you can start by just standing on the edge of a cliff. Once this is tolerable for you, you can view the images showing the views from various high places. In recent years, thanks to advanced technologies, therapists have literally breathtaking opportunities to gradually eliminate acrophobia in patients in a completely controlled environment.

Once the patient has come a long way, he may try to board a plane or do something else that would arouse extreme fear in him at the beginning of the therapy.

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Be prepared to work on yourself. Many therapists give their patients the task of performing home-taught mental and physical techniques and reading certain texts. You will be required to transcend negative thought patterns and work on certain strategies on a daily basis.

These homework may include activities such as breathing exercises, thought experiments and more.

Treatment of acrophobia with medication

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Seek out a psychiatrist or other physician experienced in prescribing medication for phobic disorders. Finding a doctor with experience that matches your problem is very important. If you do not know of any such doctor who would prescribe medication for anxiety disorders, then it is advisable to contact your general practitioner first. He will probably refer you to a trusted expert.

Be aware that medication-based treatment alone will not cure the original psychological cause of your acrophobia, but can make your life much easier by suppressing anxiety and making it easier for you to relax.

Consider undergoing some alternative or natural treatment. These types of treatments include acupuncture, meditation or essential oils. Consult your doctor before beginning any such treatment.

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Talk openly with your doctor. If you are looking for a cure for your acrophobia, proper communication is absolutely crucial. If you describe your symptoms clearly and as accurately as possible, it will make it much easier for doctors to find a suitable solution. Therefore, have fun with the doctor completely and get help from him.

Jak překonat strach z výšek – wikiHow

Study the available drugs as much as possible. Not every doctor will be familiar with all medications to treat acrophobia, so it is advisable to conduct your own research on these medications. If you have any doubts about any of the medicines, consult your doctor immediately and seek medical advice. Many drugs cause various negative side effects. If you decide that the benefits of the drug for you outweigh its negatives, then everything is fine. Some of the most common medications your doctor may prescribe for acrophobia include:

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Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which typically increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters responsible for mood swings.

Benzodiazepines are fast-acting psychoactive drugs that can be used for short-term anxiety relief. Benzodiazepines are very effective in the short term, but they can be addicted.

Beta-blockers work by blocking adrenaline. These medications are especially useful for relieving physical symptoms of anxiety, such as tremor or fast heart beat.

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Seek treatment for diseases of the visual / vestibular system. Although the exact cause of acrophobia is unknown, research suggests that it could be linked to the way the body interprets visual and spatial stimulation from the vestibular system and the eyes. For some people, acrophobia stems from their inability to perceive visual and spatial cues at high altitudes, where the importance of this information is greatly increased. This indisposition can lead to disorientation, dizziness and incorrect judgments in laying one’s limbs.

In these cases, the cause of acrophobia may be physiological rather than psychological, so you should talk to your doctor. He will probably refer you to a specialist who will help you determine the physical cause of your fear.

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Consider all your options. In some cases, especially when traditional treatments fail, you can explore other approaches labeled “alternative,” “complementary,” or “integrative.” Although these procedures are not for everyone, they have been shown to be effective under certain conditions, so they are definitely worth considering. These treatments include a range of disciplines – acupuncture; mind-body centering exercises that increase the relaxation response; guided imagery to engage the mind in the process of treating and / or desensitizing eye movements and reworking biological feedback.

As with other treatments, intensive treatment for phobias pays to first consult with a trusted physician.

Forget about harmful myths and superstitions

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Definitely don’t follow slogans such as “throw him in the water and learn to swim. ” People are often told that they should face their fears by doing something that would normally scare them to death. For someone with fear of heights, this can mean, for example, roller coasting, parachuting or peeking over the edge of a cliff. Recent studies have shown that acrophobia is an innate rather than an acquired condition, which means that trying to treat fear of heights by forcing into unpleasant activities can completely fail. It could even exacerbate the phobia.

Further research will be needed to determine the definitive cause of acrophobia. So until we know the exact background of acrophobia, it will be better if you treat it first with therapy and medication than by going to enjoy the heights somewhere on the cliff.

Jak překonat strach z výšek – wikiHow

Don’t take acrophobia for granted. If the fear of heights negatively affects your work, rest or favorite activities, then this is a serious condition that you should not just stand idly by. “Self-healing ” or simple “tolerance ” are definitely not suitable strategies for living with phobias. If you hide your fear of heights behind a fake rough skin, you will put extreme pressure on yourself, which will lead to stress and bad decisions.

You are stronger than you realize. Demonstrate your strength and undergo real treatment. See a doctor, psychiatrist or some experienced therapist and with their help gradually begin to eliminate your fear.

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