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GAIT DISORDER Tremendous fear of falling when

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GAIT DISORDER: Tremendous fear of falling when attempting to walk in wide open spaces. For some reason, I just freeze up and cannot move due to an enormous fear of falling. Please let me know if there's a way to correct this condition. I am an 8 year stroke survivor and am 66 years young and am actively looking for employment. Thank you for your anticipated help. Sincerely,

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


For people who have had a stroke or other physical issue falling is a big fear, so you are not alone. Many people fear falling, so much so that they will restrict themselves to certain activities in certain places.


Addressing this fear is important. So far, society tends to ignore this fear because it is attributed to the elderly "just being old and feeble". But this is not so.It is a fear, just like any other fear. It has been shown in studies that people who fear falling tend to set themselves up for falling. So addressing this fear is very important.


One of the best things to do to help your fear is to see a therapist. The fear of falling can be treated as any other fear or phobia. Cognative behavioral therapy (CBT) is very effective in reducing or eliminating fear. To find a therapist, ask your doctor for a referral. Or you can search on line at


You can also help yourself with this fear at home. Here are some resources to help you get started:


The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Anxious and What You Can Do to Change It by Margaret Wehrenberg


The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program by William Knaus and Jon, Psy.D. Carlson


Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garano


You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


Another option is to work on your muscles through strength training. You can work with a trainer or occupational therapist to help you develop your muscles and train your core to hold yourself up better. This will give you more confidence and help you feel stronger.


If you do not want to develop your muscle strength or cannot do so, you can try using a cane or similar support. Even an umbrella might help some, even just to steady yourself. I know that using a cane has a lot of stigma attached to it, but in choosing between falling and having a cane or other support, it might be the lessor of the two evils.


You can also talk to your doctor about increasing your medication. You are only taking 1 mg. of Lorazepam, which is a very low dose. A slight increase may help take the edge off your fear and give you more confidence.


I hope this has helped you,

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