Acrophobia: The Fear of Height (Symptoms, Treatment)

What is acrophobia?

Acrophobia is the fear of heights. The term “acrophobia” is derived from the Greek word Akron meaning summit, peak, or edge, and phobia meaning fear. Acrophobia branches from the category of specific phobias named space and motion discomfort.

In this particular type of phobia, people with this experience a natural fear when exposed to heights, known as the fear of falling. On the other side, those who have minimal fear when compared to the former are said to have the head of heights. A small twist here is that this head of heights is advantageous for those hiking or mountain climbers or wind turbine mechanics.

Depending on the grading scale of severity of the fear of heights, the lower grade will fear when they are on a high floor of the building and those on the larger scale of severity have even got the chances to be sacred of evening climbing a ladder.


Usually, the symptoms of various sorts of phobias are interrelated. When people with a peculiar phobia are exposed to that situation of peculiarity, they would undergo physical, mental, and emotional disturbances, in simpler words when people with acrophobia are exposed to height, they will feel some sort of discomfort.

Emotional symptoms: Acrophobic people when exposed to heights can be panicked and would unconsciously search for something to hang upon and help to balance because at that specific time they barely trust their sense of balance, to be in the scientific approach they shut down their faith over the vestibular system found in the inner ear. The feedbacks include descending immediately, crawling, and kneeling, in common lowering off the body.

Physical Symptoms: People with acrophobia at great heights shall feel shake, experience sweat, heartbeat rising its pace and at extreme situations even yell out or cry and they can even be paralyzed. They would eventually lose their ability to think and act according to it, in scientific terms, the sudden hike in adrenaline would pace down the activity of the cerebrum.

Mental symptoms: people with the fear of heights, would always seem to be disturbed when they get to that they are going to face the heights in the coming future. Example: If suppose you are acrophobic and you get to know that this vocation you and your friends are planning an outdoor at a hill station and the residence is over a tall building this would eventually burn your midnight oil. so thus, metal disturbances would arise running the normal days.


Causes of Acrophobia:

Scientific evidence proves that the slight amount of foot-dragging can occur around heights, this goes hand in hand not only for humans (Homo Sapiens) but also for all visual animals. Around the 1960s, the famous research physiologists Eleonar J.Gibson and Richard D.Walk did “The Visual Cliff” experiments whose results showed up that crawling infant, like babies of various species, refused to cross a thick glass panel that was covered and even when the infant-mother encouraged it to act, this did not convince the baby to cross.

Thus acrophobia seems to be an evolutionary survival mechanism. like the rest of the phobias, acrophobia appears to be a hyper-reaction of the normal fear response which ultimately affects the thinking ability as mentioned in detail in the symptoms section under the mental symptoms.

Three major theories on how phobias develop are : 

  • Biological (a combination of genetic and physiological issues resulting in phobia)
  • Learning-based (phobia is developed when fear responses are punished)
  • Psychoanalytic (anxiety results in phobia)


Psychotherapy It is termed cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. This is the most common treatment of choice for phobias. In this therapy phobic patients are taught to handle the situations at the best results include the way they can stop the panic reaction and regain emotional control.

Exposure: This therapy best suits the phrase “No pain. No gain”. This is one of the traditional methods of removing the phobia forever from the patient, here we directly expose the patient with acrophobia to critical heights and make them deal with that fear. This goes hand in hand with virtual reality too, which is cost-effective when compared to the former one, as there is no need for “on-location” therapist accompaniment.

Medication: Taking chemicals into a biological system and bringing out the result we need is never the right path but in severe cases medications are death reverting means. Sedatives or beta-blockers can be used for short term relief from panicking moments. The drug D-cycloserine has been in trials for an anxiety disorder since 2008.


Relaxation: Yoga, deep breathing, mediation, muscle relaxation are techniques that give us ease not only from phobia but also from depression and many other mental disturbances.

Yoga is the path that leads to the union of consciousness. It helps to show out the real, successful, and confident you, In front of your eyes This would ultimately help you bear any difficulty. It is the ultimate goal a human should reach to maintain his inner soul in peacefulness and loyal. It gives you a chance to view the real you through you.

Therefore, the results of the research and data collected reveal that fear of heights is an expression of sensory spectacles, that produces strong feelings of discomfort and fear in normal individuals. Thus, Fear is the path to the dark side, and now it is the right time to break down the wall of fear and move on to light and get enlightened.

We hope you found the information worthy of your time.

If you want us to write on some more topics or if you want to share your experience or any story regarding this phobia then do comment down below.

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