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 number of 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 often consists of antidepressant or anti anxiety medications in conjunction with behavioral therapy to teach you coping mechanisms to employ whenever you’re 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. Often it involves “disassociation” – a technique where you look at yourself as though you were an impartial observer, rather than actually being in it. If you’ve ever felt “distant” then you’ll know how this feels.
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. Sometimes the bridge owner will add things to the side of the passageway so that the view down is obstructed but obviously this still needs to let the wind through otherwise the bridge would turn into a sail with consequences that would reinforce your fear.
Bridge phobia is not an uncommon problem. The good news is that there are ways to get over it without having to limit yourself to one area because crossing a bridge is out of the question or would involve a long detour. Treatment, therapy, and behavior modification are all available methods of dealing with this or any other phobia.
Another method to get over your phobia of bridges is hypnosis. This has a high success rate and is quick, easy and discrete. You don’t even need to book a session with a hypnotherapist – all you need to do is download a specially recorded fear of bridges MP3 file and listen to it whenever you need to.