Acrophobia – VR Therapy

What is Acrophobia?

Acrophobia is an extreme fear of heights. It falls un der the category of “specific phobias,” as it is a marked fear relating to a particular situation. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)Trusted Source includes height as a “natural environment type” of phobia.

Acrophobia is one of the most common fears. An older study states that up to 1 in 20 Trusted Source people may experience acrophobia.

Although a dislike or slight fear of heights is normal, people with acrophobia have an intense, irrational fear of heights. A person does not need to be especially high up for this severe anxiety to arise, and even the thought of being high up may trigger a panic attack.

A person with acrophobia will avoid situations in which they may be high up. For example, they may refuse to step onto a ladder, plane, bridge, or balcony. The fear can have a profound effect on a person’s life, as it may limit where they choose to go and what they can do.

VR Therapy for Acrophobia

A strong alternative to traditional exposure techniques for acrophobia is given in a virtual reality that enables the therapist complete control of exposure variables. Acrophobia environments are created that allow evaluation and interventions for fear of heights.

VR Environments that help

City rooftop

The person is at the top of one of the tallest buildings in a City.

Building rooftop

A virtual building will transport us to its rooftop.

Exterior elevator

The person is taken inside a glass elevator on the side of a building. The elevator’s height can be gradually increased until it reaches the roof.

VR Therapy involves gradually introducing a person to the situation causing their fear and helping them adapt to it. It may involve just a few sessions of therapy, after which the end goal is the person confronting their fear.

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