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Acrophobia

From Academic Kids

for the online game, see Acrophobia (game)

Acrophobia is a fear of heights. There is little or no distinction between this and bathophobia, fear of depths; both involve fear of falling.

People who suffer from acrophobia can often become habituated to particular high places, i.e. they lose their fear of them, but the fear returns when they go somewhere new. A surprising number of rock-climbers suffer intermittent acrophobia.

Acrophobia can be dangerous, because sufferers can experience a panic attack in a high place and be unable to get themselves out of it. Some acrophobics also suffer from urges to throw themselves off high places, despite not being suicidal.

Curiously, there is no correlation between fear of flying and acrophobia. The difference seems to be that when flying, there is no visual connection between the aircraft and the ground beneath: fearless and successful pilots who are acrophobic have reported that their fear suddenly emerges if such a connection is made, e.g. by flying near a cliff or a tall building.

Acrophobia is a specific-object phobia and like most such phobias is relatively easily addressed by behaviour therapies such as systematic desensitization or flooding. It is probable that acrophobic rock-climbers have in effect undergone a successful self-administered course of such behaviour therapy.

For a list of all phobias see List of phobias.es:Acrofobia he:פחד גבהים da:Akrofobi de:Akrophobie ja:高所恐怖症 nl:Acrofobie

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