Fear of escalators, also known as escalophobia, affects many people around the world.  X Source of research If you suffer from the fear of escalators, then it may manifest itself in the fact that at the top of the escalator you feel trapped and feel that you have to fall down the stairs at any moment. When you try to get on the escalator, your heart rate also speeds up, you are struck by hot flashes, you have fast breathing and you shiver uncontrollably.  X Research source To bring your fear under control, you can avoid escalators altogether – those in shopping malls, the subway, office buildings and other public places.  X Research Source Remember that such a change of habits is useful in the general fear of escalators, but not in real phobias. If you suffer from real escalophobia, you will probably need professional therapy.
Adjust your habits
Do not look down on the escalator, but up. Avoid eye contact with escalators and stare directly in front of you while driving. You will then remain completely calm on the escalator and you will reach your destination safely.
This will also alleviate any dizziness you may experience while driving on the escalator.
Hold on to the railing or grab someone’s hand. Use the side handles to ensure your stability. This will also prevent dizziness.
If someone else is with you, you can grab their hand or arm while driving on the escalator. It will help you with your sense of balance and perception of depth.
Some people, fearing escalators, have found that when they put on sturdy shoes while riding on the escalator, they gain a greater sense of security and comfort.
Only enter the escalator if it is empty. Some people with escalophobia feel trapped on crowded escalators with people on both sides. Many people will use the stairs mainly during busy hours. Instead of trying to get on a crowded escalator, wait a while for the flowing crowds to thin out. You will then feel less surrounded when driving on the escalator.
Try hypnosis. Hypnotherapists believe that your subconscious sometimes reacts inappropriately in various specific situations, such as when driving on an escalator. The hypnotherapist will try to change your responses in the subconscious state of your mind and find new ways to respond to the situation. At the same time, it will release your fear or phobia.
In the case of escalophobia, hypnosis can be performed in one initial session, using exposure to imaginary flooding, during which the therapist will guide you through an imaginary experience on the escalator while you are in deep relaxation. The introductory session is usually followed by another, which serves as a check on your condition.
Ask your GP for advice from a certified hypnotherapist and find out more about the Internet before you make an appointment. You can also ask friends or family if hypnotherapy has already helped one of them from fear or phobia.
Consider undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of psychotherapy focuses on adjusting inappropriate or negative thinking so that you are able to view your fear or phobia with a clear mind and respond effectively. You will work with the therapist in several sessions that will rid you of escalophobia and bring you a solution that will overcome your fear.
If you want to undergo CBT, ask your doctor to contact a respected psychotherapist. A suitable expert can also be recommended by an experienced friend or family member, or various websites. Your health insurance may entitle you to cover certain psychotherapeutic treatments. Therefore, find out what they are and before you make an appointment with a therapist, evaluate any fees and financial obligations that may be associated with it.
You should also check the qualifications of the chosen therapist before the session itself. Find his education, certification and license. Most psychotherapists are trained medical doctors with a specialization in psychiatry or psychological counseling.
Look for exposure therapy options. This type of therapy puts you in a controlled environment that directly triggers a phobia. The therapist will prevent you from avoiding your fear and may also use other interoceptive stimuli, such as various internal physical manifestations. Most exposure therapies are assisted by a therapist who will teach you to tolerate the fear or anxiety associated with a particular subject or situation.
An example of such therapy may be the gradual exposure of your person to escalators. Once you have managed to approach the escalator comfortably, the therapist can proceed by urging you to place your foot on the first step, then the second step, and try to get used to the feeling. If you gradually get used to the presence of the escalator and then to the boarding, all with the assistance of a therapist, it will help you understand that any consequences you are afraid of when driving on the escalator will not occur.
Try Desensitization and Eye Movement (EMDR). This therapy was originally used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and has gradually adapted to treat various phobias. During EMDR, you will be exposed to a rapid sequence of images with objects or situations that arouse your fear, and you will be instructed by the therapist to perform eye movements and to listen to knocking or rhythmic sounds. The purpose is to divert your attention from the phobia through rapid eye movements and image processing with the dreaded situation or object.
Some experts argue that EMDR is more appropriate for treating fear that has developed as a result of a traumatic experience or for an irrational or less practical type of fear. Many people with phobias first try hypnosis or exposure therapy before resorting to EMDR.
Talk to your doctor
Have your eyes and ears examined. People who have difficulty balancing on escalators or feel dizzy can sometimes suffer from eye or ear health problems. Therefore, have your eyes checked and rule out health problems that could cause your inability to balance and stability. At the same time, ask your doctor to check your ears to rule out any problems that make you dizzy.
Get an official diagnosis. Based on your symptoms and your medical, mental and social history, your doctor may determine if you are suffering from phobias. Be prepared to answer questions in the clinical interview that will ask about your escalator fear and intensity.
The clinical definition says that a phobia is a fear of an object or experience that persists for six months or more. When exposed to these triggers, you may experience panic attacks, but also extreme discomfort and anxiety. You will probably realize that your fear has no rational nature or reason and will bother you that you cannot get rid of it. Fear can be so strong that you can begin to adjust your daily routine and social or work life just to avoid phobias.
Once your doctor officially diagnoses your escalophobia, you can take this as a stepping stone to undergoing therapies and treatments.
Get a suitable therapist. Your doctor will put you in touch with an experienced psychologist, a specialist in cognitive behavioral therapy or a hypnotherapist. Before undergoing treatment, consider your options carefully and review all the pros and cons.