This phobia is something I understand all too well, because I suffered from the fear of bridges as a child. Even now, I would rather not be on a very high bridge. The Latin term for fear of bridges is gephyrophobia.
While my childhood fear of bridges was triggered by a frightening scene in the 1976 film, The Cassandra Crossing, there are many reasons why people develop this phobia.
The fear of bridges can be a side effect of other phobias. For example, an intense fear of heights can trigger gephyrophobia. Some people who suffer from claustrophobia (the fear of enclosed spaces) also detest the “trapped” feeling they get on bridges, and find it to be a great source of anxiety.
Other Reasons For Fear Of Bridges
A lack of understanding of the principles of structural engineering can make bridges appear too delicate to support the weight of cars and people. Very long, narrow bridges may seem to lack proper support in the form of columns and girders.
In modern society, advances in engineering have made extremely long bridges a reality. These amazing structures rise high over bodies of water, making travel easier than ever before. However, while bridges serve as brilliant examples of human ingenuity, they are not without their flaws. Bridges can collapse, and when they do, it is devastating.
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An example is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge of Maryland, stretching four miles from end to end. This bridge can be a scary place for someone with gephyrophobia, the fear of crossing bridges.
Bridge Collapses Can Cause Fear Of Bridges
Although it is a rare occurence, bridge collapse is always a possibility. Metal fatigue, faulty design, restoration work, and other problems can all cause the failure of bridges.
In America, there have been terrible examples of bridge failures that caused loss of life. In 2007, in Minneapolis, the 1-35W Saint Anthony’s Falls Bridge that crossed the Mississippi River fell, causing 13 deaths. The cause of the bridge’s failure was investigated and found to be due to repairs being conducted on the bridge’s surface.
These collapses are covered by mainstream media, and they cause great consternation in those who fear bridges.
Bridge Disasters in Cinema
As a young child, I saw the film, The Cassandra Crossing, at a drive-in theatre. In the film, a train crosses a high bridge at fast speeds. The bridge collapses due to the unsound structural properties of the bridge, and the train cars fall from great heights, causing death to the passenger’s onboard. This film is just one example of bridge disasters in the world of cinema.
Another famous film, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, portrays the failure of a high, narrow rope bridge. This film was set in Peru, and five people died during the pivotal scene.
Symptoms Of Fear Of Bridges
This phobia causes panic attacks. The main symptoms of panic attacks are nervousness, sweating, heart palpitations, and anxiety and dizziness.
Treatment Of Gephyrophobia
The fear of bridges can be addressed with unconventional treatments such as hypnotherapy. If this treatment fails, traditional psychotherapy can ease the anxiety in sufferers. Taking to a qualified professional about the reasons for the fear of bridges will ease stress and allow the phobic person to address their concerns.
Anti-depressants have been used with some success to treat the symptoms of fear of bridges. Some people also find relief through a clearer understanding of physics and structural engineering. By learning about the many ways that today’s engineers work to provide safe bridges for travelers, anxiety can be eased.
Many people who suffer from this phobia learn to live with their fear of bridges by increasing their proximity to bridges, a little at a time. Safe passages across high bridges can prove reassuring, especially when phobic persons are accompanied by friends and loved ones. The support of others during bridge crossings can comfort an afflicted person.
Fear of Bridges – Youtube Video
– by scooter8402