Question Details: I’ve always been afraid of heights, and have always been afraid of crossing bridges. I didn’t have to worry about bridges growing up, as I lived in a town that did not have large bridges, and I could avoid the few that were in my town. However, I graduated from college and landed a job in a huge city that has lots of bridges crossing over rivers, and I need to cross them to commute to work. I’m always late as I have to find alternate routes, and I can’t afford to live downtown where work is- I have to commute in from the other side of the river, which has cheaper rents. How do I get over my fear of heights and bridges?
Answer: The only way to get over your fear of heights and crossing bridges is to engage in CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. You need to find a therapist who is skilled at treating anxiety disorders with CBT. Medications are not that helpful for specific phobias such as fear of heights and crossing bridges. The best way to address your fears is to participate in systematic desensitization, also known as graduated exposure therapy. This is a process where you are exposed to lesser forms of your fears, then you build relaxation skills to deal with these lesser fears. Once you are able to be exposed to these lesser fears and tolerate them, then you move on to a more intense fear. You repeat this process until you are able to deal with your worst fear- which is actually crossing the bridge. Eventually, you will be able to overcome your worst fears, and may even come to enjoy crossing bridges one day.
The following video explains how you develop a specific phobia such as a fear of heights, and how CBT can help: