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A systematic review and meta-analysis of treatments for acrophobia

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Acrophobia (irrational fear of heights) is a chronic disorder that may have a serious impact on people’s lives, inhibiting their ability to perform everyday tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, standing near a balcony, or parking a car in a high-rise building, as well as interfering with recreational activities. Phobias are common in the community. Studies in developed countries that are similar to Australia have reported the prevalence of acrophobia,14 In the epidemiologic catchment area study, which comprised 20 000 participants across five sites in the United States,3 4.7% of participants fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis of acrophobia. Comparable studies in Germany and Sweden have shown similar results.1,4 Additionally, 13% of patients presenting to their general practitioners in New Zealand have phobias, and 2.4% of these are situational phobias (eg, water, heights, flying).2 Our aim here was to assess the efficacy of the treatments for acrophobia by conducting a systematic review. This is the first systematic review on treatment for acrophobia. We have written it according to the PRISMA checklist.5


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