Are you someone who loves to get in the car and go? Someone who loves to travel? Seeing the scenery is your idea of a good time? Driving can be very relaxing and a way to release stress. However, if you have to cross a bridge, a simple drive can turn into an awful nightmare. Gephyrophobia, or a fear of crossing bridges, especially over large bodies of water, can be quite traumatic. If you suffer from this phobia, know that you are not alone, as it is a very common phobia.
Symptoms of Gephyrophobia
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Heightened senses
- Feeling dizzy
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle tension
- A feeling of being trapped
Causes of Gephyrophobia
Gephyrophobia is defined as a fear of crossing over bridges. This fear can be heightened when crossing over water or driving over narrow bridges. As with many phobias, the root of the problem can be attributed to a variety of factors. The development of Gephyrophobiacan be induced from feelings of claustrophobia (a fear of being closed in) or acrophobia (a fear of heights). People with this phobia may have witnessed a traumatic accident, or may have had direct contact with someone who experienced an incident while driving across a bridge. When people with this fear drive over bridges, they may flash back to moments where they thought they were in impending danger. They may also feel that disaster could happen at any moment, maybe the bridge could collapse or the driver could lose control of the vehicle. All of these situations are valid and there are solutions to overcome this phobia.
Treatment of Gephyrophobia
Most cases of Gephyrophobia are self-diagnosed. There are many treatment options. The most common method is to face the actual fear. In Maryland, drivers who suffer with Gephyrophobia can receive special accommodation when crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. They have the option of having a driver meet them at the beginning of the bridge, get into the car and drive the car across the bridge for them. As of 2007, there was a fee of $25 roundtrip for this service.
Other treatment options for this phobia include talk therapy, hypnotherapy, cognitive therapy or desensitization therapy, self-help techniques, relaxation techniques, and anti-anxiety medication in severe cases. One of the most important things to remember is that when overcoming any phobia, it is imperative to surround yourself with others who are facing the fear. Support groups are one way to discuss your fears with others who suffer from the same phobia and they give you a chance to share different coping techniques and strategies. Overcoming a phobia can be a huge step in starting a new life. Talk with your doctor for the best referral and get your life back on track.
- Medicine.net, med terms – provides information on phobia and what it is.
- Science Buzz – story on phobia and how it affects society and economy.
- HealthMad – discussion on the phobia, causes and treatment.