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Wednesday 14 September 2022

How to overcome a fear of heights

 How to overcome a fear of heights


Need to know

Some people might think that the consequences of having to avoid heights are minimal. But imagine you’re invited to a job interview on the 16th floor of a city office block. Or that your kids are pleading for a family trip to go high-roping. Or that your friends decide it would be fun to hike all the way up to a beautiful viewpoint. For people with a phobia of heights – an extreme, persistent, irrational fear of being high up – these scenarios can become real problems. What do you do in such a situation if you have a fear of heights? Do you miss out on that job? Do you make excuses to your kids? Do you disappoint your a friends?


Some degree of caution is common and sensible when it comes to heights. Many animals and human infants show an innate avoidance of a sharp drop, even before they’ve had any real experience of heights. Evolutionary accounts argue that we are all born with this fear because avoiding heights helps to keep us safe. A problem arises only when this unease around dangerous heights starts to generalise to other, less risky situations, and begins to interfere with daily life.


An intense fear of heights might develop for  many  reasons. First, a traumatic or frightening event, such as falling out of a tree or off a ladder. This could trigger a phobia of heights because the distressing experience gets paired with heights in the person’s memories – particularly in individuals already predisposed to feeling anxious. They then start to avoid all heights, believing that they might lead to a similar scary experience. The more such people avoid heights, the fewer opportunities they have to learn that heights are generally safe, and so the fear remains and intensifies.




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