Many people suffer from a phobia of some kind. An involuntary, extreme, irrational, crippling fear of heights is termed as acrophobia. Acrophobia- the irrational fear of heights is very common.
While most normal people would feel some anxiety while peering over the edge of a forty-feet drop, for an Acrophobe something as simple as climbing a ladder, or standing in the balcony is a debilitating experience. Just the thought of any of these could trigger the phobia causing an increase in the person’s heart rate and respiration. They might even register an increase in body temperature and begin to feel giddy and nauseous. Sometimes they might even pass out from the fear. The truth is that they perceive the situation to be far more dangerous than it is in reality, and their bodies react with the fight-or-flight response which is characteristic in any threat situation. Acrophobia, like any other phobia, disrupts the person’s life and compromises his day-to-day living. A fear of heights might make something as simple as standing on the chair to change the bulb seem life threatening. Just the thought of climbing the ladder to get to the roof might cause considerable anxiety and hanging up outdoor lights might be out of the question entirely. Acrophobia can disrupt one’s life in subtle ways.
Psychologists can help the person suffering with acrophobia overcome it. It is important to seek professional advice to prevent the phobia from getting progressively worse; where even a flight of stairs might seem daunting. The cause of Acrophobia might be buried in a single traumatic situation that the sufferer might have experienced. While this might apply to some, most might not be able to recalla specific incident; besides, some fears are instinctive and might be genetic going as far back as our ancestors’ fear of standing at the edge of cliffs.
Behavior therapy is the best treatment available today for those who suffer from phobias. The sufferers are introduced to their fears gradually. Over a period of time they overcome their phobias or atleast learn to deal with them better. Acrophobia is not a disease just a condition, which, if dealt with professionally, can be overcome.