Acrophobia - this is a fear of heights. This phobia belongs to the category of fears associated with spatial discomfort and movement. Fear of heights is considered a mild degree of neurosis, which usually does not lead to any consequences. However, acrophobia still serves as a warning that an imbalance is present in the body and there is a tendency to mental disorders.

Most people, at a high altitude, feel fear and dizziness. And for people with acrophobia, the fear of heights is more pronounced and pronounced. Being at a height, they experience nausea and irresistible horror, excessive salivation appears, breathing and heart contractions become slower, body temperature decreases, the gastrointestinal tract activates.

Acrophobia causes

Acrophobia is congenital and due to various circumstances from the past. This phobia is completely unrelated to the height at which people lived and grew. Often acrophobia is formed in very impressionable subjects who have a sufficiently rich imagination. Such people, even being in a sleeping state, feel the fear of height. It is interesting that acrophobia can cause negative emotions and an attack of fear, even when not at the height. People suffering from acrophobia, it is often enough just to mentally imagine a fall from a height.

Most psychologists believe that absolutely any phobia is determined by the presence of negative experiences in the past, but recent studies refute such a theory. Many people in the past have not had any unpleasant events that would be directly related to height. Acrophobia can be present in an individual from birth and can often be combined with intolerance to harsh and loud sounds.

Other scientists argue that acrophobia is a prehistoric phenomenon that was adapted to the current reality, based on the fact that earlier the probability of falling from a great height was quite high. That is, acrophobia takes its roots from the evolutionary mechanism of security.

Countless research conducted by scientists proves that acrophobia is typical not only for people, but also for all animals that have vision.

Another cause of acrophobia can be considered a weak vestibular apparatus of a person, which regulates the balance of body position in space and realizes the connection between vision and the cerebellum.

Summing up, it should be concluded that today among psychologists there is no single theory regarding the causes of acrophobia.

Acrophobia symptoms

Fear of heights may not be the same. Often, people prone to acrophobia, argue that while at a height they can not control themselves and their potential actions. Along with this, they may have a desire to jump down, although they did not have a tendency toward suicidal attempts.

In addition, acrophobia is manifested by the fear of slipping, self-doubt, dizziness, accompanied by nausea, which can turn into vomiting. Further, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea) can occur, breathing becomes rapid, and the pulse can both slow down and increase, sweating increases, heart pains and tremors of the extremities appear, and pupils dilate. It can also be observed hypertonicity of the muscles, increased motor activity, which is expressed in the form of chaotic movements produced in order to hide from apparent danger.

In cases where the fear manifests itself systematically, sometimes even every day, even for no reason, then this is a serious reason to turn to specialists. Being present every day in the subject’s daily life, such symptoms can lead to severe mental consequences. In a person suffering from acrophobia, freedom of movement is significantly restricted, and taste preferences and desires change.

All the symptoms of acrophobia can be divided into two groups: somatic symptoms and psychological symptoms of the disease. Depending on the severity of the disease, the symptoms may vary in severity. Light signs, consisting in a weak increase in heart rate, fear of being close to the edge of the abyss, should not be considered a manifestation of the disease. Since it is quite normal and natural for people to fear heights.

Psychological symptoms of the disease consist in the appearance of uncontrollable panic attacks in subjects during ascent, and in more severe cases, panic can occur even when contemplating high objects or imagining an ascent directly. At the same time, a person suffering from acrophobia completely ceases to control his actions, he refuses to move on, can sit on the floor, cover either the face, or completely his head with his hands. At the same time, there is a lack of productive contact with such a person.

Acrophobia in children

Acrophobia is the most common type of phobia. Naturally, being in a high place, you should behave very carefully, but fear subordinates many people only when they think that they have the potential to be there. But acrophobia becomes more serious when it needs to be overcome by a child. It’s much harder to work and communicate with a kid who has just learned to express his thoughts than with adults who suffer from acrophobia. The situation is aggravated if you have to help a child who was dropped from a height earlier in childhood or he fell from it. In this case, the kids develop a rather steady feeling of fear of high objects, fear of height in general. It often happens that the parents, unwittingly, form acrophobia in children by excessive care and excessive care. In principle, acrophobia manifests itself in almost all children, but this does not mean that they have this phobia.

Acrophobia in children has certain manifestations, manifested in a child’s discomfort, even standing at a small height, for example, in a chair. Panic and pre-unconscious states can also begin, consisting in an increase in the frequency of contractions of the heart muscle, an increase in body temperature, difficulty in breathing, dizziness and nausea. But the worst thing is the loss of control over their actions. Because of uncontrollable fear, the baby cannot make decisions about how to properly descend and be safe.

In order for children to not develop acrophobia, their full development should be pursued. Riding on scooters, bicycles, jumping rope or trampoline - all this and much more helps the child learn to navigate in space, helps strengthen his vestibular apparatus, prevents the development of acrophobia. Therefore, parents should not strictly prohibit activities related to orientation in space, rope climbing and sports stairs. It is not recommended to constantly inspire children that it is dangerous. This will only increase the fear of heights.

If a child has a negative experience of falling from a height, as a result of which fear has appeared, then his favorite animated films or books whose heroes overcome their fears and the same obstacles will help to cope with such a problem. It is necessary to unobtrusively explain to your child that there is nothing to fear. You can try to simulate a situation in which the child will need to learn how to cope with their fear. For example, you can put his favorite car on the shelf a little higher than his height.

Acrophobia treatment

According to the majority of psychologists and psychiatrists, acrophobia is one of the types of diseases with which it is almost impossible for a person to cope, if the manifestations of the disease are pronounced. Therefore, it is possible to get rid of panic attacks of heights with the help of competent specialists in the field of psychology or psychiatry, and only after a preliminary diagnosis has been made. Diagnosis is possible on the basis of the patient's subjective story about his feelings and condition during his ascent, as well as monitoring him during the performance of functional tests. Such tests should be made with the utmost care in order to avoid possible deterioration of the patient’s condition.

Acrophobes are constantly experiencing panic attacks of fear, for example, because they live on the top floor of a skyscraper, or are constantly trying to suppress the attacks of fear in risk of getting a severe depression, the consequences of which can be irreversible. People suffering from acrophobia, who constantly struggle with their fear, forcibly overpowering themselves, according to statistics, on average, live less, by about 20 years. The constant fear experienced by them rapidly wears out the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

With the help of medication, acrophobia is almost meaningless to treat. Medications help only to temporarily remove or temporarily reduce the fear of heights, while allowing people suffering from acrophobia, for example, to fly in airplanes or climb high in the mountains. However, this experience does not conquer the fear of heights and cannot be perceived by their subconscious as positive, and therefore is not fixed.

Therefore, today the only method that is 100% reliable, which helps to get rid of this disease, is partial or full correctional impact on the patient’s mind by introducing him into a state of deep hypnotic trance. That is why only psychotherapists who are fluent in hypnotic skills can help people with acrophobia.

In addition, there is therapy, which is based on teaching patients how to control their psychophysical state and relaxation methods. At the same time, fear is blocked at the hormonal level. This therapy has three stages. The first is to directly train control and relaxation techniques without taking antidepressants. The second stage is a practical lesson that occurs at a low altitude accompanied by the attending physician. The purpose of this stage is to provoke fear. If the patient refuses to conduct such an exercise at a height, then a sense of height can be simulated with the help of virtual reality. After activation of the fear of heights comes the third stage, which consists in the fact that the patient begins to apply this knowledge until the degree of discomfort does not disappear without a trace. Then gradually the height increases, and all stages are repeated in a similar sequence.

Along with this, if the manifestations of acrophobia are not pronounced, then to cope with them and gradually overcome the fear of heights is possible with the help of special independent training.

The only and most effective way to deal with the fear of heights, if the disease has not gone far, is the so-called face-to-face collision method.

The first thing to do is to assess the level of fear and try to take control of it. After all, if you are covered with panic on the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper, this is normal, but if you are a meter high from the floor, this is a reason to think seriously. Master meditation or other relaxation. Avoid high places. It is necessary to become the face of fear, that is, to go to the roof of a high-rise building or to a balcony, you can jump with a parachute. There are many options. When you are at a height, you should analyze your fear, divide it into its component parts, while minimizing it and negating it. Gradually, getting used to high places, a person can learn to control his acrophobia. And in the future phobia just disappear.