Are you, or someone close to you, afraid of stairs? This is a type of disorder, a phobia, that can cause crushing fear and anxiety to those afflicted. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to reduce and eliminate the fear of ascending or descending steps and stairs, also known as Bathmophobia.
It is estimated that over 12% of Americans have or will experience a phobia, which is an overwhelming fear or anxiety around specific triggers. For example, Bathmophobia is a distinct fear surrounding steps and using steps or stairs. This can be problematic as most homes and residences have multiple levels, and thus, stairs. Though many with this condition tend to avoid stairs altogether, their anxiety could result in a fall when faced with no other option than to navigate steps. There are some tactics that can help including the use of stairlifts and aids, that can make life a lot easier and less stressful.
Consider these tips to help cope and overcome Bathmophobia, or fear of stairs:
The first piece of advice for everyone, not just those with Bathmophobia, is to go slow; slow down! Feeling the pressure to hurry and ascend or descend stairs can lead to a fall and an injury. Take the steps one at a time, hold on, and try to conquer your fear along the way. With the right footwear and a sturdy railing, you can do it.
So, speaking of sturdy railings, this is a necessity if you are ever going to be less fearful of steps or stairs. Plus, a railing goes a long way toward reducing the risk of accidents and falls around the home. Depending on the configuration of the stairs, use the banister, railing, or wall to ease your way up or down the steps. If there is no support, do not try to traverse the steps; it is a safety issue that will require further resolution.
There are some mobility aids and devices that can solve the problem of climbing stairs. Consider the practicality of a stairlift. These aids are amazing for helping older individuals or those with physical limitations live independently and access all areas of the home. These are motorized, easy to use, and comfortable plus, you have a safety strap to make sure you are secure during transport. Stairlifts are being installed in more and more homes these days, as they have shown to significantly improve everyday living and quality of life. Talk to a qualified mobility professional to learn more!
How safe are your stairs? If your fear is partly due to the condition of the stairs, it is worth the investment to fix them and resolve the issue. Have a professional builder renovate loose, damaged, or uneven steps to make them safer. Also, make sure there is slip-proof surfacing, such as non-slip rubber or tread, to help reduce the risk of a fall.
Is it feasible to reconfigure the home environment to one-level living? Perhaps you can use portable ramps to make entry steps or porch stairs more accessible, too? By consolidating your lifestyle to the most accessible floor of the home, you may be able to cope with Bathmophobia and experience fewer triggers.
If your condition is debilitating, have you considered professional treatment for your Bathmophobia? This is a practical option, and it has been determined that CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) can help! When you meet with a cognitive-behavioral therapist, they will teach relaxation techniques that you can use when feeling anxious or stressed about your phobia, in this case, Bathmophobia.
The therapist will work to help you replace fears about stairs with rational thoughts to reduce your stress level when faced with stairs. The counselor may achieve this goal through systematic desensitization, which is a slow and gradual exposure to the stressor over a period of time.
Ask for Help
Have you tried reaching out and asking someone that you trust for help? Talk to a friend or family member about your fear, ask for a supportive hand, or to lean on a shoulder when dealing with stairs. When you express your fear, they may provide support and steadiness that makes you more confident and less likely to fall.
Do you struggle with Bathmophobia? Pacific Mobility may be able to help. Call or visit to find out more about mobility aids and equipment like lifts and grab bars that can help you navigate the stairs in your own home safely, securely, and with less anxiety or fear. Do not live in a state of stress due to stairs and do not let your fear risk your autonomy and plans to age in place. Consider these tactics to alleviate Bathmophobia and improve quality of life overall.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)