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What is Acrophobia?

Meaning of Acrophobia

Acrophobia is an exaggerated and irrational fear of heights . People are usually afraid of high places at some level, especially when there is no protection.

However, people who suffer from acrophobia are very afraid of high places and may experience panic attacks when exposed to high altitudes, becoming agitated until they find a place to feel safe.

It is estimated that 2 to 5% of the world’s population suffers from acrophobia , with women having this disorder twice as often as men.

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This form of phobia can be triggered by trauma. However, many researchers believe that the fear of heights is actually a survival instinct , as seen in infants and other mammalian species.

However, the term phobia is reserved only for those who have an extreme fear of heights beyond the individual’s control.

Symptoms of Acrophobia

The clinical manifestations present in this syndrome include:

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  • Vertigo
  • Panic
  • Seeks to cling to a place considered safe
  • Belief of not being able to trust one’s balance

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Also, some people may attempt to descend immediately by crawling or lowering their bodies with their knees on the ground. Manifestations present in any other phobia are also observed in acrophobia, such as excessive sweating, heart palpitations, tremors, crying and screaming.

The main concern about who has acrophobia is the limitations that patients end up putting on their lives, preventing them from performing various activities of daily living. One curious thing, however, is that patients with acrophobia are generally not afraid of flying .

Treatment

The main way to treat acrophobia is through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Behavioral techniques, which make the patient confront the feared situation, are commonly used. Anti-anxiety medications can also be used in combination with CBT.

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