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Basiphobia: The Fear of Walking or Standing

Basiphobia is the fear of walking or standing. This article discusses the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this phobia.

What Is Basiphobia?

Basiphobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of standing and/or walking.  The basiphobic individual may be so intensely afraid of falling, that they will absolutely refuse to stand or walk.  Some people coping with this phobia may be fearful only in specific circumstances. 

Sometimes referred to as Basophobia, this word derives from the Greek “bainein”, meaning to step and “phobos” meaning fear.

What Causes Basiphobia?

As with every phobia, the person impacted by this phobia has experienced a real-life traumatic event.  Thereafter, that trauma becomes automatically and consistently associated with walking, standing and/or falling.

The basiphobic individual may have actually fallen and been seriously injured at some point in their life.  Perhaps they have an underlying, undiagnosed medical condition that makes walking or standing difficult and falling more likely.  Maybe the person dealing with Basiphobia was the victim of an accident that resulted in a temporary immobility and painful recovery.

Whatever the cause, the basiphobic individual can experience emotional turmoil and anxiety that can be completely disruptive of their ability to function.

What Are the Symptoms of Basiphobia?

The symptoms of Basiphobia are individual and will vary among people.  Some people, when confronted with their fear of walking or standing, may begin to perspire, feel slightly uncomfortable or become nauseated.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they may experience crippling anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Other symptoms of Basiphobia may include:

* A Dry Mouth

* Heart Palpitations

* Numbness

* Heightened Senses

* Breathlessness

* Feeling Dizzy

* Muscle Tension

* Hyperventilation

* Trembling

* Rapid Heartbeat

* Feeling Out of Control

* Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape

* Intense Feeling of Impending Disaster

How Is Basiphobia Diagnosed?

The vast majority of cases of Basiphobia are self-diagnosed.  The individual realizes that their fear of walking, standing and/or of falling is irrational and is severely compromising their ability to function on a daily basis.

The basiphobic person may discuss their phobia with the primary physician.  Rarely would the doctor diagnosis Basiphobia based on that initial discussion with the patient.  More routinely, after ruling out any medical reason for this phobia, the doctor will refer the person to a mental health professional for comprehensive assessment and evaluation.

How Is Basiphobia Treated?

When the fear of walking, standing and falling becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Basiphobia.

These can include:

* A referral from the primary physician to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of     phobias.

* Traditional “talk” therapy that will teach the person to recognize and control their phobia.

* Hypnotherapy.

* Exposure Therapy.

* Self-help techniques such as purposeful muscle relaxation.

* Support groups with other people who are coping with this specific phobia.

* Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy.

* Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization.

* In severe cases of Basiphobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.

Basiphobia is an intense, irrational fear of walking, standing and/or of falling.  Sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely halt a person’s ability to function on a daily basis.  Unchecked, Basiphobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal life, their social life and job responsibilities.  Untreated, Basiphobia can have a devastating impact on every aspect of a person’s life.

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  1. I found your article very informative. I am just beginning to do some research on a long-standing curiosity. Growing up, my sister, who now is 63, was a tentative, cautious walker, dreadfully fearful of stairs, particularly open-backed bleachers, and stepping stones. She was in a dreadful car accident when about 5 yrs old and another when she was in her 30s in which the two elderly occupants of the other car were killed. It wasn’t long thereafter that she started using her husband as a walking aid, then came the cane and later the walker. She started wearing braces about 4 years ago and has no capability for supporting herself upright. Her home is now fully adapted to ADA standards, and she moves around pretty much dragging her legs behind her. The muscles in her legs are now atrophied. Thankfully, she just moved into an assisted living facility so others can help her with her needs, her mobility and her lung cancer treatments. The doctors cannot offer a diagnosis for her paralysis. Lots of information for a simple question: Can her paralysis be psychosomatic, “caused” by her basiphobia?

  2. Hi Patrick,

    While I’m not a doctor, I can certainly imagine becoming paralyzed, with fear, after experiencing what your sister has, i.e. two accidents. Perhaps you could suggest Basiphobia to her husband and/or doctor. In the meantime, blessings to her.

  3. i was just studying phobias when i heard about basiphobia. this goave good information.

    sorry about your sister patrick. tammy might be right.

  4. My mother had an accident about 8 years ago which caused her to brake her hip. after setting her hip after several weeks it broke again. The dactors decided to put a pin in her hip again that didnt work so in the end sha had to get a whole hip replacement. slowley she recoverd but she was left with a limp.
    Any way 5 years ago she fell pregnent with my sister and at one stage or another she was walking and had a panic attack. After that she woludnt go outside the door without the aid of my sisters buggy. Sadly my sister is 5 now and dosnt need a buggy my mother dosnt go outside or go up town any more without the aid of sombody to link her. If any body thinks the can help please e mail me mceamanda@yahoo.com im from ireland

  5. my mother who has been is a wheelchair for the past 11 months constantly would say, I am afraid I am going to fall. Can she have such a severe phobia that it would prevent her from standing up? She had a fall about ten years ago but it was not serious and she has a condition called hydrochephalus which causes gait problems in general. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. While I cannot offer any help or advise on this condition, I can sympathize with the victims and their loved ones. I suffer from this condition and thought I must be insane to all of a sudden not be able to walk in any kind of situation that makes me feel as if I could fall. Because of this anxiety I have actually fallen several times and have had severe injury to my knees. I try to talk to myself and convince myself there is nothing to be afraid of, but it seems as if that is futile. I have had to hold on to railings, people, any object nearby hoping to be able to cope or manage the situation at the time. If my husband or daughter walks in front of me, I feel scared and abandoned. My weird quirk is I do not like people to walk behind me, I feel anxious and afraid because someone is watching me walk.

  7. Hi Patrick,
    Sorry to hear about your sister. My name is Anu, a journalist in India and I am currently writing an article on phobias. I would like to talk to you for more information about the fear of walking. Could you please get back to me at anuprabhakar184@gmail.com?

  8. A quick question: Would someone who was basophobic necessarily have a fear of walking/standing, and just a fear of falling? I know someone who walks and stands absolutely fine, and is willing to climb all sorts of things, but the moment he experiences free-fall, or feels like he is going to, he freaks out and comes close to a panic attack. For example, when I went rock-climbing with him recently, he refused to be belayed by someone he didn’t know, even though they ran the rock-climbing centre, because he was afraid there was a chance that he would experience free-fall that wasn’t in his control.
    Thoughts? Help would be appreciated.

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