Gephyrophobia: How to Cope with Fear of Bridges

Gephyrophobia: How to Cope with Fear of Bridges

Gephyrophobia: How to Cope with a Fear of


Crossing bridges may appear simple to some, but for those suffering from gephyrophobia, or bridge phobia, this fear can be very real. If you get nervous driving over water or have a fear of bridges, keep reading to learn how to deal with gephyrophobia.


1. What is gephyrophobia?

A phobia is defined as an irrational or overwhelming fear of a specific object. To make a diagnosis and find ways to treat a specific fear, different phobias are given different names. The fear of crossing bridges is known as gephyrophobia.


There are a few factors that contribute to bridge phobia. The individual may be afraid of driving off the bridge or of being swept away by a gust of wind. Others who have a bridge phobia may be afraid of it collapsing. When an incident like this makes the news, it can reinforce the person's fear and cause them to justify their fear of driving over bridges and overpasses.


2. Signs of gephyrophobia

Avoiding crossing a bridge is one of the more obvious symptoms of a bridge phobia. People with this condition may choose to commute around bridges on a daily basis or refuse to cross bridges while on vacation.


If they have to cross a bridge, the person with gephyrophobia may experience anxiety symptoms such as shortness of breath, gripping the steering wheel tightly, racing heartbeat, heart palpitations, and crying.


Gephyrophobia can be a standalone phobia or part of a larger group of anxiety-related conditions. People suffering from generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) or panic attacks may have gephyrophobia in addition to other phobias.


3. How to cope with fear of gephyrophobia

Some cities assist people who are afraid of crossing bridges by having a government employee drive their car across a bridge once a year. Certain cities in New York, Maryland, and Michigan have transit authorities that provide this service. Demonstrating the safety of crossing a bridge, particularly in the person's own vehicle, may help alleviate some of their anxiety. Finding a cure for a fear of driving over bridges, on the other hand, may be more difficult.


Because many phobias are associated with generalised anxiety, treating the phobia's underlying cause may be the best first step in managing it. Certain phobias can result in mood disorders, substance abuse, and feelings of helplessness.


Learning stress management techniques is another way to deal with a phobia. Daily meditation can help you reduce your overall stress and find peace by allowing you to centre your mind. Many people who meditate on a regular basis discover that they can direct their minds to this peaceful state when they are under stress, allowing them to control their fear and work through the situation.


Regular exercise and a good night's sleep can also help reduce overall stress and make it easier to talk yourself out of your bridge phobia when you're scared. Exercise helps to regulate your mood and reduces stress while also increasing the production of dopamine, the hormone responsible for mood elevation. Sleep is critical to your health. It may be more difficult to manage your anxiety and phobia if you are tired.


4. When to see a specialist

If gephyrophobia is interfering with your daily life — for example, if you avoid driving over bridges or can't visit friends because you have to cross a bridge to get there — seeking professional help can be beneficial. If you have this phobia in addition to GAD or another phobia, treating the entire cluster can have a significant impact on your overall mental health.


Some phobias can develop into phobophobia, which is a fear of your phobia. This "fear of fear" can creep into your daily life, even if you're not crossing bridges. Worrying about having a panic attack can have a negative impact on how you feel in general. Prolonged anxiety can be harmful to your mental and physical health.


Anxiety-reducing medication can help some people with gephyrophobia. Cognitive behavioural therapy is beneficial to others (CBT). CBT focuses on identifying problematic thought patterns that contribute to the phobia and providing conscious cues to redirect thoughts in a healthier direction.


If your phobia is causing you problems other than the physical act of crossing a bridge, consult a professional counsellor or your health care provider.


Wrapping up

Although others may not be affected by the phobia, it is very serious for the person who is. Gephyrophobia is a real medical condition that can be associated with other types of anxiety disorders. If crossing bridges makes you nervous, especially if it is causing you stress in your daily life, there are treatment options available for you in a safe, non-judgmental environment. 

If you liked this article, you can check a similar article on Kenophobia, here. 


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