fear of escalator

Escalaphobia Overcoming the Fear of Escalator

Fear of escalators, also known as escalaphobia, is a common phobia that affects a significant portion of the population. It is characterized by an intense, irrational fear of riding on an escalator, even when a person knows it is safe to do so. For those who suffer from this phobia, the mere thought of stepping onto an escalator can trigger feelings of anxiety, panic, and dread.

The fear of escalators can have a profound impact on a person’s life. It can limit their ability to travel and carry out everyday activities, such as shopping, visiting friends and family, or going to work. It can also prevent them from exploring new places, trying new experiences, and living life to the fullest.

Despite the prevalence of this phobia, it is often misunderstood and dismissed by others. People who struggle with escalaphobia are frequently told to simply “get over it,” as if it is a choice or a lack of willpower. However, the truth is that phobias like this are real, deeply ingrained fears that require understanding, compassion, and proper treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with fear of escalators, keep reading to learn more about this phobia, its effects, and how it can be managed.

Symptoms of Escalaphobia 

The experience of fear of escalators is unique to each individual. However, some common symptoms are associated with this phobia.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Muscle tension

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Feeling of panic
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feeling of helplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Intense fear
  • Feeling of dread

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Avoidance of escalators
  • Difficulty boarding escalators
  • Difficulty riding escalators
  • Difficulty getting off escalators
  • Difficulty passing escalators
  • Difficulty looking at escalators

Causes of Escalaphobia 

1. Traumatic Experiences: One of the most common causes of escalator phobia is a traumatic experience. This could include a fall, a near-miss, or a particularly frightening ride. These experiences can lead to a fear of escalators that is difficult to overcome.

2. Fear of the Unknown: Many people are afraid of escalators because of the unknown. The fact that the escalator is constantly moving can be disconcerting and cause fear.

3. Fear of Heights: Some people are afraid of heights, and escalators can be particularly intimidating because they are often tall and move quickly.

4. Fear of Being Trapped: Escalators are enclosed and some people fear that they may become trapped on the escalator. This can be especially true for those who are claustrophobic.

5. Fear of Injury: Escalators can be dangerous and some people fear that they may be injured on an escalator. This fear can be particularly strong if the person has had a previous experience of being injured on an escalator.

6. Fear of Falling: Some people are afraid of falling off the escalator, especially if the escalator is moving quickly. This fear can be particularly strong if the person has had a previous experience of falling off an escalator.

7. Fear of the Unfamiliar: Escalators are often unfamiliar to people, and this can lead to a fear of escalators. This fear can be particularly strong if the person has had a previous experience of being on an unfamiliar escalator.

Treatment Options for Fear of Escalators

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with more positive ones. It can be used to address the fear of escalators by helping the individual identify their irrational thoughts and replace them with more realistic ones. CBT can also help the individual learn relaxation techniques and coping strategies to better manage their fear.

2. Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves gradually exposing an individual to their feared object or situation in a safe and controlled environment. This type of therapy can be used to help an individual with a fear of escalators become more comfortable with the idea of riding them.

3. Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of fear of escalators. These medications can include anti-anxiety medications, beta-blockers, or antidepressants. It is important to note that medication should only be used in conjunction with psychotherapy and should not be used as a stand-alone treatment.

4. Self-Help Strategies: There are a number of self-help strategies that can be used to help manage the fear of escalators. These strategies include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and mindfulness. Additionally, individuals can also practice riding the escalator in a safe and controlled environment.

5. Alternative Therapies: Alternative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, and hypnosis may be helpful in reducing the symptoms of fear of escalators. These therapies can help the individual relax and gain control over their fear.


Fear of escalators is a common phobia that can be managed with the right treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, medication, self-help strategies, and alternative therapies can all be used to help manage the fear of escalators. It is important to consult with a mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.

Fear of escalators is a real phenomenon, and it can have a significant impact on the lives of those who suffer from it. It is important to recognize that fear of escalators is not irrational, and it is not something that can be easily overcome. It is a complex issue that requires patience and understanding.

The key takeaway from this article is that fear of escalators is real and that it can be managed with the right approach. It is important to recognize the fear and to be patient and understanding when dealing with it. It is also important to seek professional help if needed, as this can be a very effective way to manage the fear.

Overall, fear of escalators can be a challenging issue to deal with, but it is manageable with the right approach. Understanding the fear and being patient and understanding can be a great starting point for those who are dealing with it.

Do you have any experience with fear of escalators? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Q: What is the fear of escalators called?

A: The fear of escalators is called escalaphobia.

Q: What are some common symptoms of escalaphobia?

A: Common symptoms of escalaphobia include feeling anxious or panicky when riding an escalator, avoiding escalators altogether, and feeling overwhelmed or dizzy when riding an escalator.

Q: What can I do to help manage my fear of escalators?

A: There are a few things you can do to help manage your fear of escalators. First, try to practice deep breathing exercises when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. You can also try to gradually expose yourself to escalators by riding them in short increments, slowly increasing your time on the escalator. Additionally, talking to a mental health professional about your fear can help you better understand and manage your escalaphobia.

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