How to Overcome Your Fear of Heights

If the idea of visiting the top floor of a skyscraper or taking a helicopter tour gives you anxiety, you may have acrophobia. More commonly referred to as a fear of heights, the condition causes panic at the thought of being in high places and can trigger uncomfortable symptoms. Here’s a brief overview of acrophobia, along with tips to help you overcome it.

Acrophobia & Its Symptoms

While the causes of acrophobia aren’t known, scientists believe it may manifest from a previous fall or growing up with a parent who had an intense fear of heights.

In addition to general anxiety and nervousness, people with a fear of heights can experience shaking, sweating, heart palpitations, headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, and vertigo. These symptoms can be severe and cause people to avoid flying in a plane, taking a helicopter tour, riding a glass elevator, or standing on a high hill.

How to Overcome Acrophobia

One of the most effective forms of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy. During these sessions, a therapist will teach you techniques for managing any panic and fear when exposed to heights. There are also medications that may soothe physical symptoms, so talk to your doctor if a prescription is possible.

You can also gradually expose yourself to heights to help you learn how to tolerate the discomfort over time. For example, start by looking at pictures of heights, then work  toward taking an escalator ride. Once you feel comfortable, sit in a stationary helicopter on the ground and eventually embark on a doors-off helicopter tour.