Overcoming Fear of Ladders

How to overcome fear of ladders

Phobias come in different forms and degrees. However, one recurring fact in all its types and forms that exist is that they are unpleasant and must be curtailed. Many people around the world struggle with not only their fear of heights, but also their fear of climbing ladders. 

You may think there is no reason to fight this phobia, or even address it seeing as you can just avoid heights and ladders altogether. That is not always the case. 

Chances are your job will require you to utilize a ladder at some point, or your office will be on the 16th floor and you will have to climb up everyday and stare down the height from the 16th floor which may trigger your phobia. There are a million and one reasons to address this phobia as soon as possible. 

When dealing with phobias of height and ladders, there should be some degree of caution to be taken. In general, humans and animals (apart from animals capable of flight) share an innate avoidance of high surfaces or sharp drops, which is even before we fully experienced very tall heights. 

Looking at evolution, we see accounts of people and animals being born with this fear. In a bid to remain safe, humans and animals have avoided heights, especially if there is no form of protection. 

However, we classify this phobia as a problem when it begins to affect you and your quality of life. It also becomes a problem when it extends to non-threatening heights, and significantly less risky situations thereby hindering you from certain day to day activities. 

Granted, utilizing a ladder or climbing very high platforms comes with a lot of risks. This is why special care and attention must be taken to ensure safety at all times. 

How Do You Feel Safe on A Ladder 

Ladder falls are very common and could result in accidents. The first step to overcoming a fear of ladders is to ensure that you feel 100% safe when climbing up or climbing down a ladder

You must ensure you strictly follow all available safety guidelines first before attempting the climb. Here are some guidelines on how to ensure safety on a ladder at all times.

1. Ensure You Utilize the Right Ladder for Each Task 

This is the first and arguably most overlooked guideline. However, it is one of the most important. The type of ladder to utilize in each task will depend on the type of dangers attached to the task. 

You must decide the right ladder for each specific task by analyzing all the possible dangers and safety regulations for that task. For example, in choosing a ladder for electrical work, you must adhere to strict guidelines regarding the type of ladder material suitable for electrical work

Also, you do not want to use a ladder that is not capable of supporting your weight or the weight of other people that might use this ladder. On average most ladders should be able to support about 250 lbs. This will boost your confidence in the ladder and prevent you from nurturing the fear of falling as a result of the ladder giving way. 

2. Properly Inspect Each Ladder Before Climbing 

When it comes to safety on the ladder, ladder quality is everything. Most damages to ladders that result in fall accidents while climbing are usually unnoticeable. This is why you must pay attention to cracks, dents, scratches, etc on your ladder as it could be the difference between you getting over your fear of climbing the ladders, and the phobia getting worse. 

The moment you notice any of these damages to your ladder, no matter how insignificant you might think it is, you should set that ladder aside and make arrangements for a ladder capable of finishing the job. 

3. Set up Your Ladder Safely 

Selecting a suitable ladder for your task is not enough. You must also ensure you set the ladder up in the safest way possible. There are a few things to watch out for. 

  • The ground must be even to avoid falls 
  • There should not be overhead electrical wires present 
  • The area around the ladder should not be cluttered 
  • You must also ensure that the height of the ladder is properly adjusted for whatever work you decide to carry out 

4. Observe the Most Caution when Climbing up Or Down the Ladder

In order to prevent common accidents while using ladders, and relieving any fear attached to them, you must ensure you do not use ladders for anything other than what they are originally used for. 

How to Overcome Climacophobia 

Constantly having to battle with a phobia every day can be depressing and challenging. Especially if the phobia in question is directly involved in an essential part of daily life. When this happens, overcoming that phobia must be a priority. 

Climacophobia is referred to as the fear of climbing. Like many other phobias, climacophobia is capable of being overcome by regular visits to Cognitive behavioral therapy

In this type of treatment, you are taught how to limit and eventually put an end to negative thoughts regarding climbing. Instead, you thought about how to be more rational when it comes to self talk and motivation. 

For many people undergoing this treatment therapy, they usually do so in conjunction with relaxation techniques and medications. You can practice a few of these relaxation techniques on your own in the form of yoga, mediation, spa treatments, etc. 

You could also engage in guided meditation with an instructor who is aware of the situation and is dedicated to helping you rise above it. 

If it is discovered that a particular event or occurrence may be the reason for your climacophobia, then that event is addressed in the most rational and optimistic ways in order to yield results. If left unattended to, or untreated this phobia has the tendency to get even worse. 

What Is the Fear of Ladders Called? 

While climacophobia deals with the fear of climbing any sort of surface be it stairs, ladders, walls, rock walls. etc, the fear of ladders is not explicitly named. However, it is often used interchangeably with Acrophobia which is a genuine fear of heights or tall surfaces. 

How Do I Get Rid of My Fear of Falling? 

It is perfectly normal to fear falling, mainly because humans can’t fly. In most scenarios, falling leads to injury. 

However, if your fear is one that paralyzes you while you’re at the top of a perfectly balanced ladder, step or roof that has a slim chance of breaking, then it is best you address it, and get rid of it. Before assuming this, there are a few questions you should ask yourself; 

  • Are you paralyzed by this phobia when you are on top of a roof surrounded by protective railings all around you, or when you are at the edge of the roof with no protection? 
  • Are you paralyzed by this phobia when you are on a perfectly sturdy ladder, or when you climb a shaky one? 

Answering these questions will differentiate if your phobia is just a subconscious warning about an impending danger, or an actual paralyzing phobia. If it’s the latter, it is best you address it. 

The best way is through clinical psychological studies. Where you are slowly exposed to these terrifying scenarios little by little till you get comfortable. You could start with the height where you just begin to feel this fear. You could utilize a scissor lift, workplatform, etc to get to the height. 

Next, you should ensure you stay up on that level for some time all the while taking your mind off the fact that you are above the ground. 

You must be in constant communication with the clinical psychologists helping you through the study, and ensure that there is sufficient protection against falling. 

While the height gets increased, remind yourself that you are protected and secure where you are. You should end the treatment if you begin to feel dizzy, or when it gets too overwhelming. 

If after this treatment, you still suffer from this phobia, then it could be a medical problem. Consult your doctor on the possibility of your body being unable to balance itself. If it is as a result of anxiety, your doctor can be able to help relieve your anxiety with anti-anxiety medications. 

Why Am I so Afraid of Heights? 

According to evolutionary studies, Acrophobia is an innate phobia that is passed down from generations to generations. And so you may just be the victim of some unlucky genes.

Some behaviorists also believe that many phobias, including Acrophobia can be learnt through a process regarded as classical conditioning. These behaviorists believe that this phobia began in the developmental stage of a person’s life. 

As a result of falling or injury being the result of climbing tall surfaces, you slowly began to associate trauma with heights resulting in a phobia. This usually progresses over the years leading to well defined Acrophobia. 

Why Am I Afraid of Heights as I Get Older? 

It may be disheartening to know that it is possible for you to develop a phobia as you age, or that your already present fear of heights may only get worse as you age. 

While the research backing this claim is scarce, many researchers and behaviorists believe that it is possible for phobias to develop and change over the years. This is because as you grow older, your body loses some of its agility and sharp balance and so standing on high platforms could become scary. 

Another explanation is the fact that you just may be less prone to take daring feats seeing as your body isn’t what it once was. The vulnerabilities of being older will intensify your phobia, and make you a lot less likely to be willing to get into those kinds of situations. 

Additionally, your worries of not being as durable as you used to be may also intensify a phobia and make you a lot careful about where you stand, especially if there are no protective railings. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Final words 

While addressing phobias is never fun, it is absolutely necessary to improve the quality of life. 

Apart from helping you be more effective at work or around your home, overcoming your phobia can also help you interact more with your environment and enjoy more activities. 

Understanding your phobia is the first step to getting help. It is much better to tackle any phobia you may have before it impairs your ability to function. 

During therapy for the treatment of your phobias, it is important you take as slow as you need to. Rushing any step to get quick results may induce a panic attack which nobody wants. 

Notify your instructor if you suddenly feel out of breath, lightheadedness, or a numbing sensation in your limbs. If this happens, ensure you focus on breathing and calming yourself down to the best of your ability before help comes. Also, you should also try and record your progress each day in order to see how far you have come.

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