Acrophobia – Understanding the fear of emptiness to better treat it
Without knowing it, I have long suffered from acrophobia. However, I did not realize it right away. As much, to find myself at the top of the Eiffel Tower was not a problem, so finding myself on the bridge of the cable car of the Aiguille du Midi was a tragedy! But that was before. Before I discovered ways to treat my acrophobia with behavioral therapy.
Maybe you wonder if you have acrophobia? Unless you have asked yourself the question because you have already felt a fear of the important void, or astonishing? Perhaps you have noticed that since this first, unexpected time, you continue to suffer from acrophobia? So, even if you do not spend your life at the top of the skyscrapers, or on the top of the Himalayas, you ask yourself the question of what your acrophobia holds. In addition to want to cure this acrophobia of which you are victim.
So, I’m going to explain everything about this fear of emptiness. That is, the symptoms of acrophobia, and how to cure acrophobia. But, be quiet. Suffering from acrophobia does not mean being sick you know What is Acrophobia (in the medical sense of the word). It’s a fear we’ll be talking about now.
Definition of acrophobia
It is a truism to write it but, in acrophobia, there is phobia. Phobias are usually fears or irrational fears, out of control.
Acrophobia is therefore a fear, an obsession, or an extreme fear of heights and emptiness. This is one of the most common and common phobias. It is a serious and disabling problem, even if this feeling of fear is irrational.
There are a lot of people forced to refuse a job because of their fear of heights. The very idea of being stuck in the office on the 24th floor of a tower is unbearable. In the same way, they can refuse to go to see a sick friend because he is hospitalized in a room on the 4th floor. The perception of the said height is specific to each individual. Thus, people can feel the symptoms of acrophobia from the 1st floor (about 5 meters), others not before the 5th floor.In the same vein, for a person who suffers acrophobia, climb on a ladder, or go down, go on the balcony, or look out the window, are real tests.
These people will do everything to avoid confronting what is problematic.
And, of course, as I usually write, the more the avoidance process is used, the more counterproductive it is.
Imagine. You are up. You are specifically looking to go down. Or you avoid looking down. Or, you are trying to grab hold of someone or something.
You are afraid when you are high, and this puts you in an uncomfortable situation. So, this is confirmed. You suffer from acrophobia You can read here for more information https://itspsychology.com as well.
Acrophobia is not vertigo. Indeed, vertigo is one of the symptoms of fear of emptiness and height. Being tall will cause a panic attack in the person suffering from this phobia. We talk about a panic attack based on the following elements:
- Dizziness (feeling of rotation, trembling of the legs)
- Legs that flageolent
- Acceleration of the heart rate
- Temporary paralysis
- Inability to reason, to objectify
- Irrepressible need to flee
Causes of acrophobia
To better understand acrophobia, we must seek to know its source. Three factors are often at the origin of this fear of emptiness, or heights:
- An old trauma (eg fall during your youth)
- Failure of the inner ear
The inner ear plays a vital role in the circulation of information from the brain to the limbs, and in relation to the balance of the body. If this function is affected, there is a risk of contradictory information to the body, the muscles, the eye, and the brain.
Then there will be a confusion at the level of the body that will react differently and, therefore, inappropriate. The information received will no longer be properly evaluated. You will feel destabilized.
This is exactly what happened to me at the top. Some friends, my wife and I, had been waiting for a while for the cable car to come back down. We were several, perched on a spiral walkway. I felt the bridge move laterally. No doubt the weight of those present, and the wind. I felt that I was liquefying. Everyone made fun of me. It is only once down in Chamonix that I found my calm. I came out traumatized from this ordeal.
For years, I was mortified at the idea of going up. I think that, in a way, I was ashamed not to know how to control my fear. I had no reason to be afraid. In all high places, everything was cleverly secured. And yet.
Years later, faced with the consequences of my acrophobia, I was helped by a colleague. Since then, I know what to do, and how to do it. I no longer feel any anxiety, shame or guilt about standing on my feet and legs at 3000 meters.
- An anxious temperament
Acrophobia affects women much more than men. Perhaps because women naturally tend to be anxious. A naturally anxious person is therefore more exposed to acrophobia than the rest of the population.
It should also be pointed out that in some people, the source of acrophobia comes from the reactions of their parents, or their close entourage, to the heights.
Parents who are generally afraid of heights give a pattern of negative and anxious reactions to their children. Which end up appropriating it, and reproducing it. “Why, me the child, can I manage what my parents can not do. If they can not do it, me either. If they are afraid, I can only be afraid.
In turn, some of these grown-up children will become acrophobic. What once is not the case, confirms how much education has its part in the pathology of an individual.
In fact, treating acrophobia is based on behavioral strategies specific to each.
Treat acrophobia with behavioral therapy
There are several methods to treat acrophobia:
- Behavioral therapy
It is well known that behavioral therapy is the most effective method of treating phobias . It is therefore equally effective for treating acrophobia. The behavioral approach leads you to gradually correct, then eliminate your thoughts, and erroneous beliefs.
In the behavioral approach, and beforehand, the therapist will try to get you to accept your acrophobia. Indeed, and unfortunately, acrophobes are often treated as weak people. And, more simply, it is often said of them that they lack courage. They then tend to hide the reality of their acrophobia, because they feel shame (eg your servant).
This is also what we hear much more often speak of vertigo. It’s a bit like people who say they are allergic to tobacco to justify their abstinence. Instead of simply recognizing that they are addicted to tobacco (I speak of it knowingly, I am …). Besides, are not we saying that tobacco is … a drug?
Then, the behavioral therapist will help you to describe, and to decipher, your emotions. Identifying your emotions will allow you to anticipate them. Then, thanks to different complementary techniques (ex: relaxation), you will be able to more easily change your behavior under stress or panic, and face situations of exposure to the vacuum, or to consequent heights.
For example, you will better manage a crisis of anxiety in the face of emptiness. Over time, the goal is, of course, to neutralize your acrophobia. That is to say, to no longer live it as a problem. This is also my case. I know I’m an acrophobe, but after a colleague’s help, I do not see him as a problem anymore. I now know what to do, and how to do it.
Anyway, to treat acrophobia, you can refer to behavioral therapy in practice, or resort to an online therapeutic program.
In the meantime, when you are exposed to emptiness, you can:
- Breathe thoroughly
- Keep your eyes open rather than close
- Support a straight vision, and far ahead
- Focuses on a task, or point, so you do not panic
- Build on a person, or something, to move forward
As part of your treatment, there is strong presumption that you are trying to brave your fear of emptiness, and go up in height. You could also try to cross a bridge, or a bridge. If you are considering such exposure behaviors, be very careful. Do not force anything. Progress very slowly. Take a step forward and two back (in the therapeutic program that I designed, I explain to you how to do it, and why this method very … paradoxical) .. In short, respect you!
Indeed, I see too many people who have tried to massive exposures, and who find themselves even more blocked than before. Simply because, out of pride, they have asked too much!
If in the area you live in, there is no behavioral therapy practice, I invite you to watch the video below. She tells you how to treat acrophobia easily and quickly.