Your concerns: I am scared of heights

Dear Doctor, I am afraid of heights, every time I enter an elevator, I feel bothered about the landing. How can I cope with this challenge? George, Kikukiro
Fear of heights could be due to a nasty past incident. (Net photo)
Fear of heights could be due to a nasty past incident. (Net photo)

Dear Doctor,

I am afraid of heights, every time I enter an elevator, I feel bothered about the landing. How can I cope with this challenge? 

George, Kikukiro

Dear Goerge,

What you are suffering from is acrophobia - fear of heights. It is one of the most common phobias experienced by people. It may be a sequel to experiencing or witnessing some traumatic event related to height like falling down or witnessing somebody fall from a height. It may be irrational.

Normally, everybody experiences some fear on looking down from a great height. But if somebody fears even small heights like climbing stairs or entering elevators, it can affect quality of life and needs attention.

Anxiolytic and mild sedative drugs can help a person overcome this fear. Drugs like beta blockers can help to reduce anxiety, while climbing a height. What is actually beneficial is counseling and conditioning of the mind.

The affected person has to be explained to that his fear is unfounded and he can climb heights easily. In your case you need to understand that millions world over use elevators, so you can also use it without problem.

Try to condition the brain and remove the fear gradually. Maybe climb some height regularly, enter an elevator regularly and gradually increase the height. For example, go up to first floor for a week, then maybe higher floors, step by step increase the height climbed. Initially keep a friend or family member for support. Gradually you will feel confident and realize that there is nothing to fear about heights.

Dr Rachna Pande  is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

 

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