Bathmophobia fear of stairs. You may be afraid of falling down a set of stairs or a steep incline. A traumatic accident involving a fall, injury or death may cause this specific phobic disorder. Stairs exist in many places, making them hard to avoid. You can overcome this fear of stairs with the help of psychotherapies.

Bathmophobia fear of stairs or steep slopes. Someone suffering from this condition can expect to experience a high amount of anxiety. When thinking of stairs, let alone actually being in the presence them.

In such a situation, their anxiety may actually be so extreme and intrusive. That they may even experience full blown panic attacks as a result of their bathmophobia. Although this will not always be the case for everyone suffering from this condition. It is still quite plausible for it to occur nonetheless.

If someone with bathmophobia were to endure such a panic attack. Then they can expect to experience an increased heart rate. An increased rate of breathing, muscle tension, shakiness, and excessive sweating, among other symptoms.

Someone suffering from bathmophobia will likely avoid going to places where stairs or steep slopes might be present. This may greatly limit the amount of places they can go to as many businesses have stairs of some kind.

So, someone with this condition may make conscious decisions throughout their day to day life. To ensure that they don’t come into contact with stairs in any way. This may make it very challenging for someone with this condition to get the goods and services they need.

Although someone with bathmophobia may avoid places with stairs or steep slopes to help reduce their chances of experiencing anxiety. Doing so may actually worsen their bathmophobia due to them. Constantly reassuring to themselves that stairs or steep slopes are something that is worthy of being feared.

What is bathmophobia?

People who have bathmophobia have an extreme fear of stairs or slopes, such as a steep hill. “Bathmo” is the Greek word for steps, while “phobos” means fear.

A person with a fear of stairs or slopes may be afraid of:

  1. Suffering a serious injury or death from falling down a set of stairs or a steep incline
  2. Tripping, falling and being injured while going up a set of stairs or an incline
  3. Slipping through an opening between stair steps
  4. Having a heart attack, asthma attack or becoming short of breath while climbing stairs or an incline
  5. Navigating narrow, steep, slippery or rickety stairs

What is a phobia?

A phobia is an anxiety disorder that brings on an extreme fear of something. That won’t typically cause harm. Bathmophobia is a type of specific phobic disorder. A person with this phobia fears a specific situation: stairs or slopes.

How common is bathmophobia?

It is hard knowing exactly how many people have a specific phobia, like bathmophobia. Many people may keep this fear to themselves or may not recognize they have it. We do know that about 1 in 10 American adults and 1 in 5 teenagers. Will deal with a specific phobia disorder at some point in their lives, though.

What is the difference between bathmophobia and climacophobia?

  • Someone with bathmophobia may feel anxious or fearful at the mere sight of stairs or a steep incline. These feelings may persist as they go up or down stairs or an incline.
  • Climacophobia means fear of climbing. With this phobia, symptoms like fear and dread only happen during the act of climbing. Someone with bathmophobia may also have climacophobia and vice versa.

Symptoms and causes

  • As is the case with virtually every other phobia that exists, someone with bathmophobia. Can expect anxiety to be the most prominent symptom of their condition. Also, as previously mentioned, their anxiety may be so extreme. That they may even endure full blown panic attacks as a result of it.
  • Depending on the severity of their panic attack, they may even need to be hospitalized. However, this will vary from person to person and will be dependent on many factors.
  • Furthermore, someone with bathmophobia may go to painstaking efforts. To ensure that they do not come into contact with their fear in any way. This may mean them not only avoiding areas where they may come into contact with their fear. But also that they may actively try to prevent it from happening by taking a more hands-on approach.

Who is at risk for bathmophobia?

There are no definitive causes of bathmophobia. Nevertheless, genetics and one’s environment may both play very significant roles in the development of this condition. For example, if someone has a family history of mental illness. Especially of anxiety disorders or specific phobias, then they may have a higher chance of developing bathmophobia.

  • This may be due to them then having a genetic predisposition to developing mental illness in general. If someone were to have such genetics, then it may only require that they experience. Some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown bathmophobia.
  • Essentially, any sort of emotionally painful event that involved the various fears associated with bathmophobia. In some way may be enough for someone to develop this condition insofar as they have the proper genetics.
  • Although we do not know the exact causes of bathmophobia, the consensus among most mental health professionals. Is that both genetics and environmental factors play very significant roles in the development of any given mental disorder.
  • So, taking a closer look at these two different parameters may shed some light. As to whether or not you may be at risk for developing bathmophobia.

Specific phobic disorders affect all ages and genders. Certain factors may increase your risk of having a specific phobic disorder like bathmophobia. These risk factors include:

  1. Being female (assigned female at birth)
  2. Having a family history of bathmophobia or another phobia or anxiety disorder
  3. Having a gene change (mutation) that increases the risk of an anxiety disorder

What other phobias are associated with bathmophobia?

In addition to climacophobia, someone who has a fear of stairs may have:

  1. Acrophobia (fear of heights)
  2. Barophobia (fear of gravity)
  3. Basiphobia (fear of falling)
  4. Illyngophobia (fear of vertigo or dizziness when looking down a set of stairs or a steep incline)
  5. Thanatophobia (fear of dying)

Why do you have a fear of stairs and slopes?

A traumatic experience can make you afraid of stairs and slopes. Potential causes of bathmophobia include:

  1. A scary fall on a set of stairs or an incline that causes serious injuries
  2. Witnessing another person’s injury or death due to a fall on a slope or stairs
  3. Watching a show about someone’s injury or death as a result of a fall on stairs or a slope

What are bathmophobia symptoms?

Often, a person with bathmophobia is aware that a fear of stairs is extreme. But they can’t control how they feel when they see stairs or a slope.

Symptoms of bathmophobia may include:

  1. Chills
  2. Dizziness and lightheadedness
  3. Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  4. Heart palpitations
  5. Nausea
  6. Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  7. Trembling or shaking
  8. Upset stomach or indigestion (dyspepsia)

Below, you will see some more common symptoms of this phobia:

  1. Anxiety when thinking of stairs or steep slopes
  2. Anxiety when near/on stairs or steep slopes
  3. Constantly avoiding stairs or steep slopes
  4. Unable to cope with their anxiety
  5. Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
  6. May experience panic attacks

Diagnosis and tests

How is bathmophobia diagnosed?

The diagnostic manual for the American Psychiatric Association (the DSM-5) doesn’t recognize fear of stairs or slopes as a phobia. But you may receive a diagnosis if you meet these criteria for having a specific phobic disorder:

Symptoms that occur anytime you see or think about stairs or slopes or have to go up or down them.

  1. Chronic fear of stairs and slopes that lasts for at least six months
  2. Extreme changes to behaviors or routines to help you avoid stairs and slopes
  3. Diminished quality of life due to phobia symptoms

Management and treatment

What is bathmophobia treatment?

A mental health professional like a psychologist can help you overcome a fear of stairs and slopes. Treatments may include:

Just as there are no definitive causes of bathmophobia. There are also no treatments that are specifically designed for this condition either. Nevertheless, there are still many different forms of treatment. That can help to significantly improve many of the symptoms of bathmophobia. Some of these treatments include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and some psychiatric medications, among others.

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
  2. This form of psychotherapy (talk therapy) helps you explore and understand why you have a fear of stairs. With CBT, you learn techniques to change these perceptions and reactions. CBT is another very common form of treatment that is often used to help people. Suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  3. Among other conditions. Moreover, it may also be effective at helping to treat people suffering from phobias like bathmophobia as well. CBT works by having the therapist help the patient to uncover. Why it is that they think, feel, and behave the way they do with regards to a particular fear or concern they have.
  4. Someone with bathmophobia partaking in CBT can expect to learn why it is that they think the way they do about their fear, among other things. Understanding such things may help someone with bathmophobia. To take a more pragmatic approach when thinking about their fear of stairs or steep slopes.
  • Exposure therapy:

It is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from phobias. Exposure therapy works by having the therapist gradually expose the patient to their fear over a given period of time. With regards to bathmophobia, the therapist may start off by exposing the patient to photos of stairs or steep slopes and then eventually expose them to actual stairs in real life.

  • This would all be in an attempt to help desensitize the patient to their fear by repetitively exposing them to it. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to something they fear, the less it will bother them over time.
  • Most people with specific phobias improve with exposure therapy, a type of psychotherapy. Your therapist gradually exposes you to images and situations that trigger symptoms. Over time, you become less sensitive to the triggers. This process is called desensitization.
  • Hypnotherapy:

Your therapist may use hypnotherapy along with psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy involves being in a hypnotic state or trance to help you access memories, thoughts and emotions related to the fear.

  • Medications:

Some people benefit from anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants while undergoing therapy. Medications can help you get through a short-term situation. When you know you will have to face stairs or inclines. You shouldn’t need medicine once therapy is complete.

Anti-anxiety meds:

These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe bathmophobia. Due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.

These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their bathmophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.


These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression. As they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as bathmophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of bathmophobia.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Bathmophobia

MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training. To help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from bathmophobia. As mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with bathmophobia. Can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve. The intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.

Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of bathmophobia. As well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.

Meditation for Bathmophobia

There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from bathmophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimous state.

  • Also you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps. Which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
  • Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from bathmophobia. Due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else. That does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
  • For someone with bathmophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations. Felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
  • To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of bathmophobia. You can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen. And chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands. During each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
  • Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you. The way your skin feels as you touch certain objects. The way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with bathmophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator.
  1. Yoga for Bathmophobia

There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from bathmophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis.

  • Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with bathmophobia. Due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
  • There are many different types of yoga that someone with bathmophobia can benefit from. Such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist. Virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with bathmophobia.

If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch. Some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of bathmophobia. You can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.

  1. Exercise for Bathmophobia

Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including bathmophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress.

This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety. But rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing. Those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.

According to the American Psychology Association

  • So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help. Reduce your symptoms of bathmophobia by making it much easier for you to cope. With the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
  • There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of bathmophobia. Such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with bathmophobia over time.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Bathmophobia

DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like bathmophobia too.

  • This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
  • One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with bathmophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all. While slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.”
  • Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling. You also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.

What are the complications of bathmophobia?

An extreme fear of stairs and slopes may make you want to stay home or in areas. That you consider safe because they don’t have stairs or slopes. When you avoid going out, you may have agoraphobia.

Phobic disorders also increase your risk of:

  1. Depression, social isolation and suicidal thoughts
  2. Panic attacks and panic disorder
  3. Substance use disorder

When should you call the doctor?

You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:

  1. Panic attacks
  2. Persistent anxiety that interferes with daily life or sleeping
  3. Signs of depression or problems with substances

What questions should you ask your doctor?

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  1. What’s causing bathmophobia?
  2. What’s the best treatment for me?
  3. Should I try exposure therapy?
  4. How long will I need therapy?
  5. Can medications help?
  6. Should I watch for signs of complications?


  • Stairs and slopes are found in all kinds of places: homes, stores, buses, subways, schools and workplaces, to name a few.
  • It isn’t practical to avoid stairs or slopes altogether. A fear of stairs and slopes can make you afraid to explore new places and limit your ability to be out in the world.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you find yourself going to great lengths to avoid stairs or inclines.
  • Most people with specific phobic disorders like bathmophobia overcome their fears through psychotherapies like CBT and exposure therapy.



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