Gephyrophobia is the irrational fear of bridges. For most sufferers this is driving or walking over a bridge. However for some their fear can strike anxiety at the sight of a bridge. Those who suffer from this condition typically avoid any routes they know where a bridge is present and turn around when they encounter one.
A sufferer of this phobia will experience immediate and intense anxiety when they are faced with crossing a bridge. Many exert the same symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at what these are.
The easiest way to deal with their fear of bridges is to simply turn around and runaway from it. Gephyrophobia will always take the longer route around a bridge to avoid ever having to cross it. Typically when these sufferers are capable of turning around or escaping the thing they fear their anxiety will calm down.
When a Gephyrophobia sufferer cannot escape their fear they tend to go into a state of panic. For example, when there is no other way except across the bridge to get whether they need to be the sufferer will be overwhelmed with extreme anxiety. This anxiety can cause a full blow panic attack.
The Symptoms of A Panic Attack Include:
- Trembling / Shaking
- Excessive Sweating
- Rapid Heart Beat
- Feeling An Impeding Sense of Doom or That They’re Going To Die
The most common symptom that all Gephyrophobia exert is avoidance of their fear. They plan their lives and daily activities around avoiding bridges. Most sufferers don’t even realize they are making these decisions because they have become regular practice in their lives.
A few examples of these might help you better identify the things you personally due to avoid your fear. When planning trips or vacations you will route the way you get there around bridges, and you will typically avoid vacationing spots that require you to cross a bridge to get there. In your daily life you may take a route that takes twenty minutes longer just to avoid going across a bridge.
This can even affect your lifestyle decisions. You may turn down a job you really want because it’s on the other side of town that you know the only way there is by crossing a bridge.
Gephyrophobia, just as many other phobias that people tend to develop throughout their lives, is the result of the sufferers life experiences. These experiences fall into three different categories that cause their phobia. Let’s take a look at each type.
This is one of the more common reasons that people develop phobias. This involves having endured a traumatic event in your past, typically in childhood, that sticks with you into adulthood. You tend to associate the traumatic event with danger.
For example, you were in a car accident on a bridge. Now every time you are faced with crossing a bridge you relive the traumatic experience of the accident. Your brain associates the bridge with a dangerous places.
This is when the sufferer doesn’t endure the traumatic event themselves, but rather witness someone else experience the event. The sufferer witnessed the danger that the other person endured during the event and now associates that event with danger.
For example, someone you know got into a car accident on a bridge and was injured. This causes your brain to associate bridges with car accidents and injury. You now fear what may happen when you cross a bridge.
Instead of just one event leading to the development of your fear, this is where a combination of things you have learned throughout life and warnings you were give create your fear. Information sources could include movies, books, and warnings from adult-like figures, such as your parents.
You may have watched a movie or television show where a bridge collapsed when people where on it. This makes you associate a bridge with tragedy. You may have read books on how unsafe bridges can be. Your parents may have avoided bridges themselves while you were growing up. These parental cues of taking the long way around to avoid crossing the bridge sticks with you into adulthood.
Treatment for specific phobias generally fall into three different categories. Let’s take a look at each one.
Through the help of a trained therapist you will visually expose yourself to your fear. Through this exposure your body will learn to desensitize it’s anxiety through a series of relaxation and breathing techniques.
In Vivo Therapy
This is also termed Exposure Therapy. This treatment involves a therapist physically exposing you to your fear. It’s been proven effective that over repeat exposures your body will start to get used to your fear. This will allow you to gradually decrease your anxiety when you are exposed to your fear.
This is best for those sufferers who do not want to talk about their fear with others and those who don’t want to spend money on a therapist’s help. Many phobia sufferers have found great success in working through their phobias alone with the guidance of these self help programs.