Bridge Phobia

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Phobias are irrational fears of something and many people have them.

Some of the most common phobias are a fear of public places, heights, spiders and snakes, but with the bridge tragedy in Minnesota last week we're hearing more and more about bridge phobia.

More people than you might think suffer from this fear.

"I just get nervous, my stomach gets queasy and my legs get weak and limp. I grip the steering wheel because at least I've got something to hold on to," said Ruth Morrow, who suffers from bridge phobia

Ruth Morrow is terrified of bridges.

She can't swim and hates heights.

"My cousin drowned in this river swimming. I think that if I go off into the river that I'll hit those rocks," Morrow admitted.

Driving across a bridge is hard enough for Ruth.

She adjusts her speed to make sure she's never sitting in traffic.

"This bridge don't bother me much because I get in the left lane and zoom across," Morrow explained.

Ruth's fear is so great, walking across one has always been out of the question.

"In order to be considered a phobia it has to interfere with someones ability to function," explained Psychiatrist Dr. Grayson Grau.

Dr. Grau said the only way to overcome a phobia is to relax, breath and put yourself in the fearful situation over and over again.

This was Ruth's first time walking across the College Street Bridge and she made it halfway.

Dr. Grau said it takes time to overcome a fear, but if Ruth decides to walk across the bridge again she may be able to cross it all the way.
He also added that anxiety felt because of a phobia can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

There is medication you can take to correct this.

To help people who fear bridges, many larger cities offer services where the transportation department will drive people who are afraid of bridges across.

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