What Is Gephyrophobia?
Gephyrophobia (from Greek words “gephyra“, bridge and “phobos“, fear) is an abnormal, irrational and persistent fear of bridges, especially crossing bridges. Sufferers of gephyrophobia experience undue anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. As a result, sufferers of gephyrophobia may avoid routes that will take them over bridges.
Gephyrophobia gains spotlight in recent years after the Minnesota bridge collapsed in August 2007.
Causes Of Gephyrophobia
Gephyrophobia are generally developed due to traumatic experience about crossing bridge, regardless of how irrational the trauma is. It might even result from movies, books, or stories about bridge collapse.
The flip side of gephyrophobia, which experts say is often related to a fear of heights or open spaces, is a dread of driving through tunnels, more often linked to claustrophobia, experts say. Some people suffer from one fear or the other; some struggle with both.
Thus Gephyrophobia may result partly from the fear of enclosure (claustrophobia), the fear of heights (acrophobia) or fear of water (aquaphobia). Gephyrophobiac drivers may worry about being in an accident in busy traffic or losing control of their vehicles. High bridges over waterways and gorges can be especially intimidating, as can be very long or very narrow bridges.
Whatever the cause, such Gephyrophobia lead to panicky feelings that sufferers go to great lengths to avoid crossing bridge, grinding normal routines to a halt.
Symptoms Of Gephyrophobia
The symptoms of Gephyrophobia are individual and will vary from person to person. Some people, when confronted with their fear of crossing bridges, may begin to perspire, feel slightly uncomfortable or become nauseated. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they may experience paralyzing anxiety and/or panic attacks.
Treatment For Gephyrophobia
When the fear of crossing bridges becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Gephyrophobia.
These can include traditional “talk” therapy that will teach the person to recognize and control their phobia, hypnotherapy, self-help techniques such as meditation or purposeful muscle relaxation, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy. In severe cases of Gephyrophobia, anti-anxiety medication can also be prescribed.
If Gephyrophobia arises from other phobias, it will be necessary also to address the associated phobias from disrupting the sufferers ability to function.