Fear of Open High Places

When hiking an individual may not struggle with heights because there are rock formations and trees surrounding them providing a sense of security. However, when an individual finds themselves at the top of a bluff or mountain and see an incredible landscape below them they may experience a sense of vertigo that can instill a sense of fear. This fear is known as Aeroacrophobia.

This same sense of fear can be experienced in an airplane and hot air balloon. a vast panorama of space below you can be very frightening. It’s not simply the fear of heights, but perhaps a greater sense of fear at the view and the potential for bodily harm if a fall should occur.

What Causes Aeroacrophobia?

This fear is often instilled when a personal experience with an open spaced height occurs. At first there may be a tendency to laugh off the nervous feelings, but the mind may continue to wrestle with what could have happened in the midst of the potential danger. At some point there can be dreams that may be personally classified as nightmares followed by a profound sense of dread and panic at the thought of being in a place in which a view that others see as beautiful creates a sense of terror that seems impossible to overcome or dismiss.

Like most fears Aeroacrophobia can be instilled by observing another trusted individual who struggles with the fear. The common thread in this causal agent is that because you trust the individual, and they fear high open spaces then their response must be typical and rational. This is a secondary core reason for the phobic response.

Symptoms of Aeroacrophobia

A person with this fear will be more likely to move to a plains state and may never entertain the idea of flying in a plane, helicopter or hot air balloon. They will be unlikely to find any beauty in pictures that show high open spaces. They will not vacation in mountainous places where such views would be common.

Other symptoms may also include…

  • Trembling
  • Air hunger
  • Weeping
  • Screaming
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Panic attacks
  • Temporary loss of some bodily functions

When symptoms are most prevalent this individual will not be able to process data rationally so it will not be a good time to try to convince them their fear is without merit. If you are helping an individual with this fear you may need to empathize with them until such time as they are rational. Even then you may need professional assistance.

How to Overcome Aeroacrophobia

This fear can be overcome, but certain types of immersion therapy (taking this individual to a high open space to try to desensitize them to the fear) may not be the most effective treatment option. A qualified therapist can provide several options that can allow you to learn more about the fear, where it started and how to manage the fear (completely overcoming a fear may not be possible).

The individual must want to overcome the fear as well. There are some that seem to thrive on clinging to the fear and this may require additional types of therapy.

The fear of open high places is also referred to as:

  • Open high places fear
  • Aeroacrophobia
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