Last Update: 22nd February 2019

Definition: The fear of high ceilings

Do you suffer from a fear of high ceilings, or large enclosed spaces? This fear is called Altocelarophobia, and is more common than you would think. This website won't cure your fear, but it may be your first step in understanding it. There is also content here if you have a fear of looking up at tall buildings, or even looking down from them. 

Welcome to the Altocelarophobia community. 


Just five days ago (at the time of writing) while watching a rerun of the British panel game "QI" I made the discovery that I had a recognisable phobia. More about my story - Just Me - in the articles page. Now just five days later, after discovering a few others who share my curse, I felt compelled to create this website.

I am sure many people quietly suffer from Altocelarophobia, changing their routines to avoid problem environments. The problem is that it is an acutely embarrassing phobia. I like other sufferers know it is acutely irrational, how on earth do you ask for help walking 20 yards into a mall, but you are okay once you are inside a regular shop? It's stupid. I know that, yet I still suffer. And until very recently I thought I was alone. Hopefully this website will help others find their inner strength.

From time to time I will use the abbreviation "ACP" rather that the full term Altocelarophobia.

If you have any personal experiences please feel free to contact me via the Contact Form.


The word "altocelarophobia" is not officially recognised by many sources yet. This is due to its lack of common usage, presumably caused by the embarrassment factor of sufferers. Hopefully this site will help raise the profile and this bring the word closer to the fore.

Altocelarophobia is derived from the Latin, "Alto" meaning high, "celaro" meaning cover (or ceiling), and the Greek "phobos" meaning fear of.

 Typical Symptoms

As with any phobia each individual's symptoms and triggers will vary.

Triggers: Large covered spaces such as malls, cathedrals, rail termini etc. Typically any area with a ceiling/roof substantially higher than a domestic ceiling, though this can be as little as 50% higher in extreme cases. Polished floors are known to exacerbate the problem, as can irregular shaped (arched/domed), textured and transparent (glass) ceilings.

Symptoms: Often includes a feeling of dread, of being sucked into the open space towards the ceiling where gravity will reverse and drop the sufferer back to the ground. Also feelings of dizziness, nausea and increased stress.

Related Phobias 

The following phobias are related to Altocelarophobia; though it is quite possible to suffer from any combination, or just any one on its own. For example, I'm quite comfortable with heights - so long as I feel safe, but I'm a real mess with ACP.

Acrophobia - Fear of heights. Suffered when at an elevation, such as a tall building, a ladder, or raised platform

Agoraphobia - Fear of open spaces. Often suffered where the environment has a vast openness, or is of great crowdedness

Batophobia - Fear of being close to an object of great height. Suffered when close to tall buildings, trees or mountains etc.

Articles on this website are written by Altocelarophobia sufferers, and not medical professionals. If you are suffering extreme affects we recommend that you consult your local medical practitioner.