Read about acrophobia medical facts: what is the definition of acrophobia, medical treatment & how to treat acrophobia, information about the causes, and related acrophobia diseases.

Definition: What is "Acrophobia"?


Acrophobia is derived from the Greek word 'akpoc' which means 'summit'. This phobia is described as the irrational dread of high places. This belongs to a certain category of phobias which are called motion & space discomfort (these two share like etiology & choices of treatment). This phobia could become very dangerous because those who suffer from it could experience attacks of panic when on a high place. As a result, they could become so agitated & they would have troubles getting themselves down to the ground safely. Vertigo is often associated or link with acrophobia & it is sometimes misconstrued as the phobia itself. The former is a feeling of nausea which is correctly described as a sensation of being spun. Vertigo can be caused by acrophobia when the person gets to a high place & then experience nausea. This type of vertigo that is triggered by heights is referred to as height vertigo.

Treatment: How to Treat "Acrophobia"?

Studies are still being done to address the phobia & there is a handful of promising leads that could help treat this disorder. Virtual reality is being studied to be used in treating those who suffer from this specific phobia.


Acrophobia , just like all other irrational fears, is often believed to be caused by experiencing trauma. In this case, the trauma involves heights. Most recent studies dispute that fear of earsplitting noises & fear of falling are not the inborn causes of acrophobia. The degrees of fear vary & phobia is a term that should be associated with those who manifest extreme terror. It is believed that most mammals on account of their degree of self-preservation have fear of heights. An experiment has been done where infants & other animals do not venture into the 'visual cliffs' that were set up (these are glass floors with a few meters of 'fall space' right below it). Being cautious is still healthy; the problem only begins when the cautiousness becomes fear. Being cautious can be helpful in surviving but fear makes an individual inhibit other activities. A probable contributing factor could be dysfunction in sustaining balance. With this case, the anxiety is secondary & well founded. The balance system of all human beings integrates vestibular, proprioceptive & nearby visual signals to reckon one's motion or position. When the height increases, visual cues tend to recede & the person's balance becomes poor (normal people also feel this way). An acrophobic would continue to rely on the visual cues whether it be incorrect approach or insufficient vestibular function. Moving while in very high places recquires more than the usual visual processing & the acrophobic could become so confused because of visual cortex overload.

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