Acrophobia (from Greek ἄκρος, meaning "summit") is an extreme or irrational fear of heights. more...
Acrophobia can be dangerous, as sufferers can experience a panic attack in a high place and become too agitated to get themselves down safely. Some acrophobics also suffer from urges to throw themselves off high places, despite not being suicidal.
"Vertigo" is often used, incorrectly, to describe the fear of heights, but it is more accurately better described as a spinning sensation.
Causes of Acrophobia
The main cause of acrophobia stems from fear — fear of falling and being injured or killed: this is a normal and rational fear that most people have (people without such fears would die out).
A phobia occurs when fear is taken to an extreme — possibly through conditioning or a traumatic experience. Then, the mind seeks to protect the body from further trauma in the future, and elicits an extreme fear of the situation — in this case, heights.
This extreme fear can be counter-productive in normal everday life though, with some sufferers being afraid to go up a flight of stairs or a ladder, or to stand on a chair, table, (etc.).
However, with some sufferers, the causes are unclear.
Solutions to Acrophobia
Some 'treatments' include de-sensitisation, or shock treatments. For a fuller list, see phobia.
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