Acrophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

The Acrophobia is a type of specific phobia in which the person fears in an irrational, excessive and disproportionate sharp things. The delimitation of the phobic element of this disorder is not very specific and it is postulated that people with aicmophobia may fear any sharp or sharp object.

The pencils, the needles and the knives seem to be the most prevalent phobic stimuli of the Acrophobia. However, subjects with this alteration may also fear other objects such as the tips of the umbrellas, the sharp corners of any object or even the fingers.

Thus, the elements feared in the aicmofobia can be very varied, and the individual with this alteration presents high anxiety responses whenever it is exposed to each of them.


In this article the main characteristics of acrophobia are reviewed. Its symptoms and their possible causes are discussed, and effective interventions for its treatment are reviewed.


The acrophobia is a type of specific phobia little prevalent. Thus, it consists of an anxiety disorder suffered by few people in society.

The main characteristic of the disorder is experiencing high feelings of fear whenever the individual is exposed to sharp or sharp objects.

In this sense, the subject with aicmofobia may fear a large number of elements. The fear and anxiety experienced when it comes in contact with sharp objects is so high that the person will try to avoid exposure to these elements whenever possible.

However, due to the great variety of feared objects, it is often difficult for the person with amicrophobia to avoid exposure to their phobic stimuli. For this reason, aicmofobia is a disorder that can seriously affect the functioning and well-being of the individual.

When the person is exposed to sharp elements, he develops an intense anxiety response, characterized mainly by physical and behavioral symptoms.

Fear of sharp objects

To be able to speak of acrophobia it is necessary that the person presents two main conditions.

The first is to experience fear of sharp objects. The second is that the fear experienced is phobic. In this sense, the fear suffered by a person with aicmofobia is characterized by being:

1- Disproportionate

The fear experienced by the person has no relation to the real threats of the object or situation. In most occasions the sharp object does not constitute any risk for the person.

However, the individual with aicmofobia interprets the sharp objects as highly threatening whenever he detects their presence.

2- Irrational

The typical fear of aicmofobia is disproportionate because it is governed by irrational thoughts. In this way, the sensations of fear are not congruent or coherent.

This element is identifiable even for the subject who suffers from aicmofobia, who is aware that his fear of sharp objects is irrational.

3- Uncontrollable

The sensations of fear of the acrophobia appear automatically and uncontrollably. The individual is unable to manage their fear and can not do anything to prevent it from appearing when it comes into contact with its feared elements.

4- Permanent

Finally, the fear of aicmofobia is characterized by being persistent. This appears invariably whenever the subject is exposed to sharp elements and does not remit with the passage of time.


The main characteristic of the symptomatology of acrophobia is anxiety. The fear of sharp objects causes a series of intense and unpleasant anxious responses.

In general, the symptoms of mycophobia can be categorized into three main groups: physical symptoms, cognitive symptoms and behavioral symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms refer to a series of changes in the normal functioning of the organism. These occur as a result of the fear experienced and its appearance is due to an increase in the activity of the autonomic nervous system of the brain.

Although the physical symptomatology of the acrophobia may vary slightly in each case, a person with this disorder may present any of the following symptoms when exposed to their phobic elements.

  1. Increase in the cardiac rate.
  2. Increase in the respiratory rate.
  3. Increased sweating
  4. Increase in muscle tension
  5. Headaches or stomach
  6. Feeling of unreality
  7. Dizziness, vomiting and fainting.
  8. Cold sweats

Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive symptoms encompass a large number of irrational and negative thoughts that the person develops regarding their feared elements.

The individual with acrophobia presents a series of cognitions that are far removed from reality about the danger that sharp objects and personal abilities can cause in order to face them.

Behavioral symptoms

Finally, the aicmofobia is a disorder that is characterized by negatively affecting the behavior of the person.

In this sense, the most prevalent behavioral symptom is avoidance. The subject with acrophobia will do everything he can to avoid, at all times, contact with sharp elements.

However, this activity is often highly complex on many occasions. When the person with aicpofobia can not avoid contact with their phobic elements will experience a high anxiety response that can often lead to escape behaviors.


The causes of acrophobia are little studied today. However, many specialists agree that the etiology of this disorder could be the same as that of the other phobic disorders.

In this sense, having experienced traumatic experiences related to sharp objects, or having visualized negative images or having received alarming information about this type of objects could be important factors for the development of acrophobia.


As with most phobic disorders, the treatment of first choice for acrophobia is psychotherapy.

Also Read: Glossophobia: Characteristics, Diagnosis and Treatment

The cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychological intervention based on exposure of the subject to their phobic elements. The exposure of the person with aikophobia to sharp objects allows them to get used to these elements and overcome the phobic fear little by little.