Escalaphobia – Fear of Escalators

Escalators, Fun for Children, Scary for Others

Do you always ditch the ease and convenience of escalators and choose the stairs? Does the mere thought of stepping onto an escalator send chills down your spine? Your vision is fine, you do not suffer from any perceptual or sensory disabilities, and even your body balance is perfect, yet you cannot force yourself to step onto an escalator.

If the answer to all the above questions is a resounding “yes,” then you might be struggling with escalaphobia or the fear of escalators.

Dealing with any phobia is difficult. Not only can it significantly restrict your daily life, but a phobia like escalaphobia can also create a barrier between you and your friends and family members. The fear of escalators can force you to walk away from the group on several occasions. You may even find yourself avoiding shopping malls and metro stations.

However, it is not something to lament about. Like any other phobia, escalaphobia can also be cured or at least reduced to the extent that it becomes much easier to live with.

What Are the Causes of escalaphobia?

The word “escalaphobia” is derived from the Greek words “escalo” meaning “to move up” and “phobos” meaning “deep aversion or fear.”
So, what causes fear of escalators?

The fear of escalators is often associated with a number of other phobias that might gradually evolve into escalaphobia.

Related Phobias

Bathmophobia, or the fear of stairs and slopes, is often connected with escalator phobia. Bathmophobia is when people are afraid of a slope or a flight of stairs, even when they do not need to climb up or down. The continuous motion of the escalator steps is one of the central factors that make it seem so horrifying.

Climacophobia, or the fear of climbing, is also associated with the phobia of escalators. Those with climacophobia are comfortable being around stairs or slopes, but they often become terrified when they are required to use the stairs.

Other connected phobias include acrophobia or the fear of heights and illyngophobia or the fear of vertigo.

Previous Traumatic Experiences

Many phobias are known to be triggered by the negative experiences of the past. This is also true for escalaphobia.

You may once have got your shoelace stuck in an escalator or perhaps you slipped while getting on or off the escalator, causing you to lose your balance. People can even lose their balance on the escalator when the steps and the handrails are mistimed. Being exposed to such situations increases the risk of developing a phobia for escalators.

Another factor that can lead to someone developing escalaphobia is the false belief that the hidden machinery below the stairs moves quicker than one’s normal walking pace. This false assumption can lead to someone fearing they are moving up or down too fast and might get thrown off.

Medical Triggers

Surprisingly enough, the series of negative experiences mentioned above need not even have happened to you for you to develop escalaphobia.

If you witnessed such disastrous situations in person or even on TV, or if a parent or close relative has had a history of the same fear, it puts you at higher risk of developing escalaphobia.
Pre-existing conditions such as vertigo or sensory issues like lack of depth perception can also worsen your escalaphobia.

Symptoms of Escalaphobia

Intense fear, an obvious symptom of escalaphobia, may cause you to purposely avoid coming into contact with the trigger of the fear. In this case, it is the escalator. And when confronted with the trigger, that is fear of going down escalators, it can cause anxiety and panic attacks.

Similar to other phobias, the fear of escalators also gives rise to reflected in the form of a plethora of psychological and physical symptoms.

Psychological symptoms:

● Fear of losing control or fear of failing to maintain control
● Fear of passing out
● Fear of dying
● Fear of harm or illness
● Feeling sad or hopeless
● Feeling guilt or shame
● Withdrawing from others
● Confusion or inability to concentrate
● Feeling disconnected
● Anxiety
● Feeling panicked

Physical Symptoms:

● Sweating
● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
● Trembling
● Nausea
● Hot flushes or chills
● Rapid heartbeat
● Feeling faint
● Chest ache or tightness in the chest
● Headaches and dizziness
● Numbness
● Dry mouth
● Wanting to urinate
● Ringing in the ears
● Hyperventilating
● Difficulty breathing
● Increased blood pressure

How to Treat Escalaphobia

Phobias should be taken seriously. Failing to address it or ensuring timely treatment can sometimes result in extreme anxiety and depression. Learning how to deal with such irrational fears is important if one wants to overcome their fear of escalators.

Hypnosis for Fear of Escalators


Acceptance is the first step towards treating any phobia. Acknowledging that there is a problem is crucial before you take the next steps. It is also important to remember that there is nothing embarrassing about having a phobia. A lot of people suffer from various kinds of phobias.

Seeking professional assistance for your escalator phobia is essential. However, there are also ways in which you can address some of the associated symptoms on your own. For example, relaxing activities like yoga and meditation are known to help deal with phobias.

Professional Help

When seeking professional treatment, the professional will typically first try to identify the root of the fear of escalators so that they can develop a proper treatment plan.
If the root cause is a lack of balance or perception, then training or therapy for learning to balance body weight better would be recommended. If there is an issue with eyesight, an eye care professional can suggest the necessary visual aids to overcome this problem.

As with all types of phobias, gradually desensitizing oneself to the trigger plays a major role in dealing with escalaphobia. Confronting the feared object or trigger gradually and in a controlled environment can significantly help in overcoming escalaphobia.

A professional psychotherapist may also employ well-known therapies to treat phobias such as hypnotherapy, NLP, and cognitive behavior therapy.

Dealing with Escalaphobia

Even though elevators and stairs are always available as alternatives, that does not mean you should ignore the issue. The goal is not to eliminate the trigger but to make it ineffective.
Have faith in yourself and trust the process. While none of these escalator phobia treatments come with a guarantee that your phobia will be completely eradicated, they do promise a high rate of improvement.
Apart from the medical treatment, what matters is your attitude toward dealing with this phobia. Do not expect overnight results. It will take time, patience, and persistence on your part.

All machines, including an escalator, are susceptible to malfunction. No activity can ever be entirely risk-free, not even walking or running in the streets. So, while fear of escalators is understandable, it should not limit you from living your best life.

Even if escalaphobia may seem silly or unrealistic, the phobia must be taken seriously and not made fun of or ignored. If left untreated, such a phobia can result in major behavioral issues as well as mental distress.
You can either work on overcoming your fear yourself or with the help of a professional so that you do not have to limit the pace of your life and learn how to manage your escalaphobia more effectively.

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