How To Get Rid Of The Fear Of Heights
How exactly do you get rid of the fear of heights, a common condition that affects a wide range of people in society? How do scientists treat this phobia?
People suffer from certain identified phobias, one of the most common being acrophobia - the extreme and irrational fear of heights. People suffering from this condition may experience a panic attack in a high place and become too agitated to get down safely. Between 2 and 5% of the entire population suffer from fear of heights, twice as many women as men.
When in such a situation, the person's heart begins to pound, breathing and body temperature increase, they experience nausea, start to shake, or even faint.
Mentally, a person perceives the situation as much more dangerous than it really is, and such a phobia leaves serious traces in a person's life, practically disrupting their daily activities, which is why professional help is needed.
How Can You Get Rid Of The Fear Of Heights?
1. Behavioral Therapy
The most effective intervention in treating phobias is exposure. Anxiety is treated where it occurs, and treating it involves exposure to anxiety.
In the 1960s, psychologists began to turn to radical therapies to heal mental "wounds". The first type of behavioral therapy is desensitization - gradually exposing the patient to the situations they fear. This allows step-by-step adaptation to gradually overcome the fear. Mentally visualizing situations that you fear, walking with a glass elevator, or other such actions could be very helpful.
Two ways of exposure can be used, in imagination or in vivo - direct exposure to the phobic stimulus. In both cases, exposure can be gradual or sudden immersion in the phobic situation.
Psychotherapy is more than indicated, as it tries to identify the roots of the phobia, a possible traumatic childhood event.
Childhood events may be possible causes of phobia, but some psychologists say it is instinctive, stemming from our primitive ancestors and their fear of rocks.
3. Breathing Or Distraction Techniques
Either intervene in relieving the effects of anxiety on the body or on controlling the negative thoughts that invade us in an anxiety crisis.
In phobic situations, there is always the thought that danger is threatening our lives or that we are about to lose control and are unable to cope. Our inner control helps us to alleviate our phobic state and get through critical situations when there is no one around to support us.
Experts have produced a two-part scheme containing the problem and the solution. The patient is asked to first consider the anticipated likelihood of something happening and then to anticipate what their own coping skills are. The second element is the anticipation of negative consequences. Then it is necessary to assess the anticipated coping strategies that would be available to the individual if the event were to happen.
4. Medication Treatment
Antidepressants prescribed by a medical specialist, as well as tranquilizers, can help control phobia-related symptoms. However, you should also be aware of the side effects that can occur, such as addiction. Family and friends are a very important part of treating this phobia.
There is also a cortisone-based medicine on the market for people with a fear of heights. Cortisol, the stress hormone, "treats" the irrational fear of height. Three sessions of treatment have been shown to be enough to get rid of the phobia, according to the Daily Mail.
An international team of researchers tested the effects of the pill on 40 people with acrophobia. The volunteers were given either the drug or a placebo pill an hour before they were put in a situation where they had to stand at heights, and those who had been "treated" with cortisol were noticeably less frightened than others, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
In addition, the effects of the drug were found to be long-lasting, with volunteers experiencing this fear at a lower intensity in the following month after treatment. The pill restricts blood flow to regions of the brain that are involved in reliving memories.
Strange as it may seem, there are many people who live with fear every day, experiencing all sorts of phobias, but these can be overcome with specialist help.