Gephyrophobia, also known as bridge phobia, is an unreasoning fear or dread of crossing bridges. There are several reasons for this phobia to exist. In many cases, this is a part of a larger group of phobias, such acrophobia, fear of heights, or a fear of the water. In other cases, this phobia stands alone.
Bridge phobia and most other phobias, often develop following a traumatic experience. For example, it was feared that a great number of cases of bridge phobia would be diagnosed following the collapse of the interstate overpasses in San Francisco a few years ago. Whenever people approach the object of their phobias, they begin to experience feelings of anxiety, sometimes leading to a full blown panic attack.
Treatment for bridge phobia consists of antidepressant or anti anxiety medications in conjunction with behavioral therapy to teach one coping mechanisms to employ whenever placed into a situation that would trigger the phobia. Another treatment is called desensitization. This works by putting yourself into the situation that triggers your anxiety a little at a time until it stops bothering you, then going a little further.
Some bridges are known to be built so high or so open that they trigger a panic attack in many of the people who attempt to drive or walk across them. Many of these bridges have become aware of the problem, at least the people who own the bridges, and offer a fee based service whereby someone will drive your car across the bridge for you.
Bridge phobia is not an uncommon problem. The good news is that there are ways to get over it without having to limit one’s self to one area because crossing a bridge is out of the question. Treatment, therapy, and behavior modification are all available methods of dealing with this or any other phobia.