What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?

  • By: Vlad Ivanov
  • Date: May 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 11 min.

Key Takeaway:

  • Acrophobia is the fear of falling from heights, and it affects many people around the world.
  • Acrophobia can be caused by traumatic experiences, genetics, and brain chemistry, and it can lead to physical and emotional symptoms.
  • Treatment options for acrophobia include therapy, medication, and self-help techniques, and it’s important to seek help if the fear negatively impacts your daily life.

Are you scared of high places? Do you struggle with feelings of panic and dread when you find yourself up in the air? If so, you are not alone. Acrophobia, the fear of heights, is a very common phobia that affects millions of people. You don’t have to face it alone. Let’s explore what acrophobia is and how to cope with it.

The Fear of Falling From Heights

The Fear of Falling From Heights-What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Donald Scott

The phobia of plummeting from elevated spaces is commonly termed as acrophobia. This distressing condition triggers symptoms including anxiety, sweating, racing heartbeat, and nausea.

Exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and anti-anxiety medications are potential treatment options for patients with acrophobia. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and visualizations can also help alleviate the fear. Additionally, avoiding situations where the fear is activated, and seeking professional help are suggested for individuals dealing with acrophobia.

Understanding Acrophobia

Understanding Acrophobia-What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Larry Walker

Acrophobia, or the fear of heights, is a common phobia that affects millions of people worldwide. This intense fear stems from the perception of high elevations, resulting in a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Individuals with acrophobia may experience anxiety, panic attacks, or a sense of impending doom when exposed to heights or high places. This fear can be caused by a traumatic event or even learned behavior. Understanding acrophobia requires an appreciation and awareness of its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

The symptoms of acrophobia include increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, and feelings of extreme fear and panic. These feelings are often irrational and overwhelming, causing individuals to avoid places and situations commonly associated with heights. The causes of acrophobia are multifactorial, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and psychological trauma.

Treatment for acrophobia involves various approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and medication. Each approach aims to help individuals learn how to control their thoughts and feelings associated with heights, enabling them to face their fears gradually. With proper treatment, individuals with acrophobia can make significant progress in overcoming their fears.

It is essential to understand that acrophobia is a treatable condition that should not be ignored. Seeking help from qualified professionals can improve the quality of life of those experiencing acrophobia. Sometimes, facing fears can have a significant impact and lead to personal growth and increased self-confidence. It is crucial to embrace and support individuals with acrophobia on their journey to overcoming their fears.

Common Causes of Acrophobia

Common Causes of Acrophobia-What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Harold Thomas

To comprehend acrophobia and why it develops, let’s focus on traumatic events, genes, and brain chemistry. These topics will help us grasp the root of acrophobia – fear of heights.

Traumatic Experience

Individuals who have had distressing episodes or experiences are more prone to having phobias, including the fear of heights. This condition can occur in an individual even if they have never experienced a fall from a considerable height themselves. People who have witnessed a loved one’s paranoia regarding heights may develop this phobia from that experience as well. Traumatic occurrences ranging from mild to severe can cause acrophobia, which is characterized by uncontrollable anxiety when exposed to heights.

Those affected by acrophobia often exhibit physiological responses such as increased heart rate, perspiration and trembling, among others. In some cases, individuals may also avoid climbing stairs or visiting high places altogether, causing impairments in daily life.

Although acrophobia might not be a common issue for many people, it can have significant impacts on their lives. The fear of falling can lead one to miss out on opportunities such as travelling or participating in outdoor activities.

To overcome acrophobia’s debilitating effects on life, therapy works for some individuals while others find medications helpful. Remember that overcoming fears takes time and effort but is possible with patience and effective treatment.

Amanda recalls vividly her first experience skydiving. Everything was perfect till about 10 minutes into the freefall; her chute opened before she was ready. The jerk sent her spiraling down several feet before levelling out for the descent to the ground. Fortunately, Amanda was unharmed and landed safely with her parachute- however since that traumatic experience Amanda is now afraid of heights, something she never imagined possible before experiencing first hand what it feels like to fall uncontrollably through the air.

Looks like some people are born with a fear of heights, genetics really knows how to give you a head start on anxiety.


Studies suggest that there may be a genetic component to acrophobia – the intense fear of heights. It’s possible that some people are genetically predisposed to develop this phobia, while others are not. However, research is still ongoing in this area and much is yet to be understood about the link between genetics and acrophobia.

Furthermore, it is important to note that environmental factors and past experiences can also contribute to the development of acrophobia. For example, if someone had a traumatic experience involving heights as a child, they may be more likely to develop a fear of heights as an adult than someone who did not have such an experience.

It’s crucial for individuals with acrophobia to seek professional help from a mental health professional trained in treating anxiety disorders. Treatment options may include exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or medication.

In addition, incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation can also be helpful in reducing anxiety and managing symptoms associated with acrophobia. By seeking help and practicing relaxation techniques, individuals with acrophobia can learn to manage their fears and live normal lives without being held back by their phobia.

Brain chemistry can make you scared of heights, or just scared of your own thoughts.

Brain Chemistry

The fear of heights can be triggered by the brain’s neurochemistry, and this can vary from person to person. Some individuals have an innate predisposition towards acrophobia owing to their genetics, while others experience it due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. The excessive release of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine heightens alertness, leading to feelings of panic and anxiety. At the same time, the reduced levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) make it challenging for the brain to regulate impulses and emotions.

Researchers suggest that treating acrophobia with medication should focus on restoring balance in the neurotransmitters known to play a role in height phobias. Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used for this purpose, as they help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany height fears. Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven effective in reprogramming one’s thoughts about heights while facing exposure slowly.

Moreover, evidence shows that acclimation or gradual desensitization is vital when trying to overcome a fear of heights. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing exercises before or during anticipated visual heights exposure also proved helpful. As mentioned earlier, restoring balance in the brain’s chemicals is critical; supplementing with natural remedies like omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate symptoms related to high-stress environments like acrophobia.

There’s nothing like a fear of heights to leave you feeling down and out.

Symptoms of Acrophobia

Symptoms of Acrophobia-What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Charles Carter

Want to know the signs of acrophobia? It’s the fear of heights! Let’s explore the physical and emotional symptoms. Physically, people with acrophobia may tremble, sweat, or even faint. Emotionally, they may feel dizzy, panicked, or overwhelmed when exposed to heights.

Physical Symptoms

The bodily sensations triggered by acrophobia are intense. When someone experiences a fear of heights, they are likely to have physical symptoms that stem from their reaction to the fear. The physical symptoms usually include sweating, trembling, heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation, and nausea.

These responses occur due to the body’s fight or flight response mechanism that prepares it for dangerous situations. As a result of these symptoms, some people may experience dizziness and feel like they’re going to faint. Some people may also feel disoriented and lose track of reality.

It is common for acrophobic individuals to avoid situations or places that trigger their fears. A person suffering from acrophobia might avoid using elevators or escalators because they feel as though they’re losing control over their environment.

If you’re living with a fear of heights, here are some suggestions to manage your symptoms:

  1. One effective strategy is exposure therapy which involves gradually increasing one’s exposure to high places while practicing relaxation techniques.
  2. Medications such as anti-anxiety drugs can also help alleviate some of the physical symptoms associated with acrophobia.
  3. Therapy can be helpful in exploring the underlying causes of the phobia and learning coping strategies.

Feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster? Welcome to acrophobia, where the fear of falling from heights can really take you for a spin.

Emotional Symptoms

Individuals with an acute fear of heights, or Acrophobia, can exhibit various Emotional Indications. These signs include intense feelings of anxiety and a sheer sensation of panic. Such responses are typical during scenarios that involve height, such as standing on the edge of a tall building or balcony. In addition to these responses, individuals might experience sweating, shaking, and even palpitations.

Furthermore, Acrophobic individuals might have difficulty breathing when put in situations involving heights. It can lead to shortness of breath and hyperventilation. This phobia could also lead to avoidance behavior where they intentionally bypass everyday tasks that involve climbing stairs or using elevators in tall buildings.

If the fear becomes too intense, it may lead to a full-blown panic attack resulting in nausea, dizziness or fainting. The only way to overcome acrophobia is through exposure therapy which involves gradually exposing oneself to heights under the guidance of a therapist.

Pro Tip: Regular practice of deep breathing exercises helps alleviate symptoms of acrophobia during anxious moments.

Ready to conquer your fear of heights? Just remember: what goes up must come down, but with the right treatment, you won’t come crashing.

Treatment for Acrophobia

Treatment for Acrophobia-What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by John Hernandez

To treat acrophobia, or fear of heights, there are three options: therapy, medication, and self-help techniques.

Therapy can help reduce the fear. Medication can also be taken. Self-help techniques are a third option for overcoming acrophobia. Each of these three options has its own sub-section. They highlight various treatments, medications, and techniques.


The treatment for acrophobia involves Exposure Therapy, which gradually exposes the individual to situations involving heights. This cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found to be effective. The therapist may also use virtual reality or talk therapy as additional techniques to help overcome the fear. Furthermore, by challenging negative thoughts and beliefs surrounding height, individuals can learn to reframe their thinking and reduce anxiety in high places. For those who are unable to benefit from therapy alone, medication may be prescribed.

Pro Tip: Seek professional help sooner rather than later for a more successful recovery. There’s a pill for every illness, but sadly not one for the fear of gravity’s pull.


Medical Intervention for Acrophobia

A combination of psychotherapy and medication has been found to be effective in the treatment of acrophobia. Anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines are prescribed to mitigate anxiety symptoms associated with phobias. However, they can lead to addiction and other side effects if taken for an extended period.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have also shown effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders, including acrophobia. They take longer to display results but usually have fewer side effects than benzodiazepines.

It is important to note that medication alone cannot cure acrophobia, and it should only be prescribed by licensed medical professionals after a thorough evaluation of the patient’s condition.

If you or someone you know suffers from acrophobia, seeking professional help is crucial for successful treatment. Combining psychotherapy and medication can help overcome this debilitating fear and improve quality of life.

Self-Help Techniques

One approach to overcoming the fear of heights, also known as acrophobia, is through self-guided methods. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, virtual reality exposure therapy, and systematic desensitization. Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves identifying and challenging irrational thoughts while gradually exposing oneself to heights. Virtual reality exposure therapy allows individuals to experience simulated height-related scenarios in a controlled environment. Systematic desensitization focuses on progressively building up tolerance to fear-inducing stimuli.

In addition to these techniques, relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation can help manage anxiety and stress associated with acrophobia. It’s important to seek professional help or guidance when practicing these self-help techniques.

While everyone experiences fear in different ways, one individual’s journey involved integrating small challenges into their daily routine. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or climbing a ladder at work helped build confidence gradually over time. Consistency and persistence in facing fears are crucial elements for success in overcoming acrophobia through self-help techniques.

Some Facts About The Fear Of Falling From Heights:

  • ✅ The fear of falling from heights is called acrophobia. (Source: Healthline)
  • ✅ It is one of the most common fears and affects up to 5% of the population. (Source: Verywell Mind)
  • ✅ Those with acrophobia may experience symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and rapid heartbeat. (Source: WebMD)
  • ✅ Exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medication are all potential treatments for acrophobia. (Source: Medical News Today)
  • ✅ Acrophobia can significantly impact a person’s daily life, leading to avoidance of certain situations and activities. (Source: Psychology Today)

FAQs about What Is The Fear Of Falling From Heights Called?

What is the fear of falling from heights called?

The fear of falling from heights is called acrophobia.

What are the symptoms of acrophobia?

Symptoms of acrophobia include sweating, nausea, dizziness, trembling, and panic attacks.

How common is acrophobia?

Acrophobia is one of the most common phobias, affecting about one in every 20 people.

What causes acrophobia?

Acrophobia can be caused by a traumatic experience, such as falling from a height, as well as by genetics or a chemical imbalance in the brain.

How is acrophobia treated?

Acrophobia can be treated through talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, and medication.

Is acrophobia dangerous?

Acrophobia is not dangerous in itself, but it can cause a person to avoid situations where they may encounter heights, which could limit their activities and affect their quality of life.

Previous Post

How To Get Over Fear Of Reading Out Loud?

Next Post

What Is Coimetrophobia: Fear Of Cemeteries Explained