I Am Afraid Of Heights And I Don't Like To Fly In Airplanes. Are These Signs Of Stress Or Something Else?

Dr. Kim Lebowitz answers the question: 'Heights Scare Me. Is That Stress?'

— -- Question: I am afraid of heights and I don't like to fly in airplanes. Are these signs of stress or something else?

Answer: An individual who doesn't like to fly in airplanes who finds themself in an airplane is definitely going to experience a stress response, which means their body's going to become physiologically aroused -- they might be aware of their heart racing, of their breathing rate increases. These are physiological symptoms of stress.

When an individual is afraid of a certain situation or a certain object, whether it's dogs or snakes or flying, that's what we call a phobia -- an excessive irrational fear to a situation that is not dangerous, of which they usually try to avoid. Individuals who have one of these phobias might be able to carry on very well in their lives, particularly if they don't need to interact much with the object that they fear. But an individual who needs to travel a lot for work who has a fear of flying, that fear might start to interact with their health, and they might want to seek some treatment for it.

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