Barophobia: Fear of Gravity

  • Time to read: 9 min.

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Barophobia, or the fear of gravity, is an often misunderstood and under-recognized phobia. Those who suffer from this condition can experience a range of symptoms including difficulty sleeping, anxiety, panic attacks, and even physical pain. It can be extremely debilitating for those affected by it and can interfere with their daily lives in significant ways.

Thankfully, there are treatments available to help sufferers cope with barophobia so that they can live fuller more fulfilling lives. In this article we will discuss what barophobia is as well as the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available for those suffering from this condition.

What is Barophobia?

Barophobia, or the fear of gravity, is an anxiety disorder and phobia characterized by an irrational dread of the force of gravity. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as feeling unsafe when standing at high places or even being near objects that are suspended in the air.

The word “barophobia” comes from two Greek words: “baros,” which means pressure or weight, and “phobos,” which means deep aversion or fear.

People with this phobia may also experience feelings of panic or disorientation upon realizing they are suspended off the ground. 

The precise origin of barophobia is unknown, although there are various theories that provide potential explanations.

One theory states that it may stem from the fact that gravity keeps us grounded and safe; therefore, any disruption to this could trigger feelings of anxiety and unease.

Further research suggests that barophobia is linked to a person’s natural instincts for self-preservation; some individuals may develop a heightened sense of fear when faced with anything that could potentially cause them harm, such as falling from heights or being exposed to dangerous objects in midair.

Causes of Barophobia

Barophobia, or the fear of gravity, is an anxiety disorder that can be caused by a variety of factors. It can be triggered by traumatic experiences such as falls, physical or emotional abuse, or being in dangerous or extreme environments.

Other psychological causes may include overexposure to media about falling, fear of heights, related family history, fear of failure or low self-esteem, and pre-existing mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, panic attack disorder (PAD).

Cognitively, it may be related to irrational beliefs about safety and security; catastrophic thinking about falling; and distorted thoughts about the consequences of falling. Physiologically, barophobia can result from a heightened sensitivity to certain physical sensations like vertigo and dizziness. 

Environmental factors can also trigger barophobia. The experience of living in an area with frequent earthquakes could lead to increased feelings of insecurity due to the potential danger posed by gravity.

Additionally, experiences such as being stuck in an elevator during a power outage could evoke feelings of helplessness and panic due to not being able to control the situation. 

Finally, understanding one’s social environment is important in understanding barophobia. Peer pressure from friends and family members who view falling as embarrassing or dangerous can create feelings of anxiety when even minor falls occur.

Furthermore, lack of support from loved ones can lead to feelings of isolation that then fuel negative thought patterns in the brain associated with barophobia.

Symptoms of Barophobia

Barophobia, or the fear of gravity, can cause intense physical and psychological symptoms. People with barophobia often experience feeling overwhelmed or helpless when thinking about gravity, and may become preoccupied with their own safety or the safety of those around them.

Common physical symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, sweating, and difficulty focusing or being unable to relax. They may also feel nauseous or experience chest pains or feel like they’re not fully balanced.

Psychologically speaking, people suffering from barophobia are afraid to trust their own abilities to navigate gravity safely; they may feel out of control and find it difficult to think straight when faced with situations where they have to evaluate their position in relation to the ground.

They may also experience intense fear and panic that prevent them from making decisions or taking action in certain situations. Additionally, they may feel an excessive need for reassurance and guidance when it comes to matters relating to weightlessness or heights. 

In severe cases, barophobes can develop agoraphobia—the fear of open spaces—and xenophobia—fear of strangers—due to a heightened sense of vulnerability associated with being away from solid ground and familiar environments.

Other possible effects for a barophobia sufferer include sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and digestive problems due to stress levels caused by the fear response.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Barophobia

Signs and symptoms of this condition include difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and trembling. People who suffer from barophobia may also feel overwhelmed when standing in large crowds or on high-rise buildings.

In order to diagnose barophobia, a doctor will likely begin with a physical examination and ask about the patient’s medical history. They may then recommend further testing such as psychological evaluations to identify any potential underlying issues that could be contributing to the fear.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is generally considered the most effective treatment option for barophobia. This type of talk therapy helps individuals understand their thought patterns and develop tools to better manage their fears.

Additionally, anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed in more severe cases as a form of symptom relief to help overcome related psychological problems.

As with any mental health condition, it’s important for those suffering from barophobia to seek professional help if they feel their symptoms are negatively impacting their quality of life.

With proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals can learn how to cope effectively with their fear in their daily life and eventually overcome it altogether.

How to Cope with Living with Barophobia

Living with barophobia, or the fear of gravity, can be daunting and overwhelming. The good news is that it is possible to manage this fear with the right help and support.

One way to begin managing your fear of gravity is to educate yourself on what it really means and what causes it. Barophobia is a real phobia that usually stems from traumatic life experiences involving feeling out of control when in high places.

It can also come from having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or experiencing anxiety disorders. 

Once you have identified what may be causing your barophobia, it’s time to start developing coping skills to help you manage it. This could involve seeking professional help such as exposure therapy.

It may also be helpful to practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, and visualization exercises. 

In addition to professional help, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can help in dealing with barophobia symptoms.

These include:

  • avoiding triggers like high spaces or certain places
  • getting enough sleep and exercise each day
  • eating a healthy diet
  • avoiding substances like caffeine and alcohol that can worsen symptoms of anxiety
  • seeking out social support networks to help you make sense of your barophobia fear
  • journaling about your thoughts and feelings related to gravity-related fears
  • engaging in activities that make you feel good such as listening to music or spending time in nature
  • finding outlets for self-expression like art or writing poetry 

Strategies for Managing Anxiety Related to Barophobia

When it comes to managing this irrational fear, there are a few strategies that may help. First, if possible, work on getting more exposure to the feeling of being on high places, such as standing at the top of a tall building or going up a skyscraper elevator. Start small and gradually increase your exposure until your anxiety levels become manageable.

Another helpful strategy is to practice grounding techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Doing these activities can help you stay in touch with reality and put your mind at ease rather than being overwhelmed by fear.

Additionally, distraction activities such as listening to music or playing games can be effective for taking your mind off what’s making you anxious. Also engaging in the practice of self-soothing can be extremely beneficial.

It’s also important to identify and challenge any irrational thoughts about gravity that might be causing fear or anxiety.

A therapeutic relationship with a mental health professional can be helpful for this, too. There are also medications available that may reduce symptoms associated with severe cases of barophobia like panic attacks and difficulty concentrating. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that this extreme fear is treatable, just like other specific phobias, and you don’t have to suffer in silence – professional help is available if needed. Knowledge is key.

Tips on Helping a Loved One Who Suffers from Barophobia

When someone suffers from irrational fears, it is important to be understanding and supportive towards them. As their loved one, you should keep in mind that this is a real phobia and not something to be taken lightly. Here are some tips on how to help a loved one who suffers from this specific phobia:

1. Listen

First and foremost, listen to your loved one without judgement or advice. Acknowledge that they have a real fear of gravity and validate their feelings by listening without interruption. You can’t just tell someone to avoid gravity or to not fall.

2. Educate Yourself

It can be difficult to understand what your loved one is going through if you don’t know much about barophobia. Take some time to research the condition so that you can better support them in their individual personal circumstances and the personal implications.

3. Stay Positive

Barophobia can be very frightening for someone who suffers from it and it’s important to stay positive when interacting with them. Focus on the positives and avoid trivializing their traumatic experience as this could make things worse for them. 

4. Offer Encouragement

Offering encouragement will let your loved one know that you believe in them even when they feel scared and powerless against their fear of gravity. Let them know that even if you don’t completely understand, anything is possible if they set their mind to it and never give up hope no matter what happens. 

5. Seek Professional Help

If your loved one’s fear of gravity becomes unmanageable and turns into one of the extreme cases, it may be best to seek professional help from a qualified mental health therapist experienced in treating phobias such as barophobia.

A therapist will be able to provide more tailored advice on how best to address the issue at hand, as well as any other mental issues which may also contribute towards the problem such as anxiety or depression.


Barophobia, or the fear of gravity, is a real phobia that can be managed with the right tools and strategies. Taking gradual steps towards exposure and using grounding techniques, distraction activities, and talk therapy can all help the person who is afraid of gravity.

If necessary, medications may be prescribed to help treat more severe cases. It’s also important for the friends and family of those suffering from barophobia to stay positive, listen without judgement, and provide encouragement whenever possible. If the fear of gravity becomes unmanageable, professional help should be sought to address the issue appropriately.

Ultimately, with the right treatment, barophobia can be managed so that those who suffer from it can live a normal life and take back control of their emotions.

FAQ – Barophobia: Fear of Gravity

What is barophobia?

Barophobia, or the fear of gravity, is a real phobia that causes extreme anxiety and distress when faced with the concept of gravity or when falling from a height.

What are some barophobia symptoms?

A person who is afraid of a fall or gravity may expereience rapid breathing, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, feelings of dread, and avoidance of high places or heights.

Are there other phobias like barophobia?

Yes, there are many other specific phobias and anxiety disorders that can be related to barophobia, such as hypsiphobia (fear of heights), vertigo (fear of dizziness) and agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).

How is barophobia treated?

Barophobia can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, grounding techniques, distraction activities and talk therapy. In more severe cases, medications may also be prescribed to help manage barophobia.