Climacophobia: symptoms and consequences


Does going up or down some stairs cause you real panic?

Fears never cease to amaze us and we have already seen in our dictionary of phobias a large number of disorders related to the most unexpected stimuli. From the phobia of the stars to the fear of teenagers to the fear of wrinkles. Any social group, object, situation, animal, or even sensation can be a stimulus to unleash terror. On this occasion, we look at the fear of stairs , a disorder known as climacophobia or bathmophobia .

What is climacophobia

Climacophobia is the fear of stairs , going up or down , it doesn’t matter. And it is also known by the name of bathmophobia . We can use both names interchangeably to speak of a rare and very surprising phobic disorder. Fear of stairs? It should be noted that this fear occurs with escalators , which may be more understandable, but also with conventional stairs .

This phobia may be related to a certain vertigo or fear of heights , but it goes much further. What it cannot be related to is claustrophobia, since the person with climacophobia will choose to go up or down in the elevator if there is that possibility. It is important to clarify this: that possibility does not always exist and it is necessary to use the dreaded stairs.

It is still surprising that a staircase is the stimulus for a phobia, but that is how fears are. Irrational, uncontrollable and excessive. If not, we would not be talking about a phobic disorder. And it may seem like a minor problem to you, but can you imagine how the life of the person suffering from climacophobia or bathmophobia is limited ?

Symptoms of climacophobia or fear of stairs

Imagine the situation. In the subway, at work, in a shopping center, visiting a relative … We find stairs everywhere and we hardly realize it. A person with climacophobia does realize it perfectly, because at the sight of some stairs he begins to feel all the symptoms of anxiety. Start nervous feeling , you experience dry mouth , dizziness , palpitations , sweating profusely , breathing difficulty .

After a while his arms and legs have fallen asleep and his catastrophic thoughts have reached a point where the mind is completely invaded. There is only fear. And in these circumstances it is not unusual for that person to suffer a panic attack . All for having to go up or down some stairs.

But it’s not just the physical symptoms, because we’ve already talked about the thoughts. In those distorted thoughts that perceive the stairs as dangerous will be the key to overcome this phobia, but this will be later when you decide to seek help. For now, the next time you find yourself in such a situation, you will try to avoid it at all costs.

Consequences of climacophobia or bathmophobia

It is precisely the avoidance that creates the terrible consequences of this fear of stairs and in general of all phobias . Because avoiding climbing stairs is not feasible if you want to have a good quality of life or if you want to have a full and functional life. As you can imagine, it is not possible to avoid the steps in our day to day life and trying to do so will only limit all areas of life .

The isolation is the most feared consequence of climacofobia. The person who suffers from it will prefer to stay at home rather than find himself in the situation of having to go up or down a ladder. But before reaching isolation, his phobia will have caused him to lose his job, his friends and contact with his family . We are not facing an anecdote, we are facing a serious problem and we wonder about the causes.

Causes of fear of stairs

What can make a person panic on a ladder? At the base of most phobias is conditioning . Perhaps that first, you will not see a situation so fearful as to turn it into a traumatic experience, but we are going to imagine the different situations.

And we can perfectly imagine a person who as a child fell down some stairs and had to go through hell in his recovery. Or that you witnessed a fatal accident of a person falling down the steps . Or, simply, that he relates the stairs as the place where a misfortune was communicated to him. If a high degree of anxiety is added to these situations, we have the necessary ingredients to suffer a phobic disorder.

Nor can we ignore the symbolism of the stairs. The states of depression , for example, are conducive to such associations. Each step, each step that you climb is one more step towards well-being, but for some physical reason you cannot do it. Like when you break your leg and can’t walk, much less climb a ladder. That symbolic ladder of life , of understanding that in order to achieve well-being you have to climb infinite steps, it can become an obsessive thought and transfer it to everyday reality.

Treatment of climacophobia

We do not want to leave a bad taste in the mouth regarding the suffering caused by phobias, we just want to state that it is a complex problem that must be addressed from different strategies . According to the final project of the Degree on Phobias by Silenne Fernández Rodríguez for the State Distance University (UNED) “there are specialists who consider that anxiety is a biochemical problem and that it should be treated with drugs, there are also those who believe that the solution is in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), that is, in working with the psyche of people through talks, conversations, treatment guides, periodic appointments with the patient so that the person can change the negative thoughts that cause anxiety ” .

The truth is that at Diario Femenino we think of no one better than a psychologist to tackle these strategies successfully, guarantee the overcoming of the phobia and avoid relapses. And yes, most phobias are treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . This therapy consists of two different parts: on the one hand , distorted thinking that associates stairs with a significant danger is worked on, and on the other , avoidance behavior is worked on . How do you stop being afraid of stairs? Well, first you have to learn to discard useless or harmful thoughts, because our mind is generating thoughts all the time and not all of them are necessary. In fact, most have to be discarded.

Irrational thinking ruled out, you have to face the stimulus that causes fear. This is achieved through Exposure Therapy . Gradually and always in the hands of a professional, the person with climacophobia will gradually approach the world of stairs . First in the form of images, to verify that the emotional charge is less intense. And then step by step, step by step, step by step, as with all psychological therapies, but in this case literally.

Treatment of phobias includes the regular practice of breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety . This is useful not only for phobic disorders, but as an investment in the future to take care of mental health, since they are tools that will accompany us throughout our lives and that we can use in moments of crisis or confusion.

And let us insist on something crucial. It is important to put your mental health in the hands of a professional . A phobic disorder is a major problem, not an anecdote or eccentricity, so stay away from sellers of miracle formulas against emotional problems and gurus of happy life.

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