Fear of Flying or Flying phobia is completely normal and more common than you might think. In fact, a large percentage of the population suffers from flying phobia, also known as aerophobia or aviophobia.
While there isn’t a specific solution for overcoming a fear of flying, there are some practices and carry-on necessities that will guide the experience to be much less nerve-wracking.
But first, let’s define what a phobia is. A phobia is an extreme fear or panic associated with particular behaviors, things, or circumstances. A specific phobic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder.
Exactly what is aerophobia?
Aerophobia is a severe aversion to flying in an aircraft. Aerophobic people may be afraid of various aspects of flying, such as takeoff, landing, or becoming trapped in the plane.
Aviophobia is another name for this condition. Most people who suffer from aerophobia are not afraid of a plane crash. But because of the overwhelming anxiety that comes with being on the plane.
Physical Symptoms of Aerophobia
Fearful travelers experience intense, ongoing anxiety both before and after takeoff. For example accelerated heart rate, cold hands, trembling, nausea, shortness of breath, or a choking sensation.
Every person will have a different set of symptoms they can experience. They will do everything in their power to avoid flying, to not experience the anxiety, fear, and avoidance that cause them great distress and affect their ability to function. The most nerve-racking aspects of flying appear to be take-off, bad weather, and turbulence.
Most common causes of aerophobia?
As we mentioned before there is no known cause of aerophobia. It is extremely uncommon for aerophobia to develop as a result of a flight.
But Specific triggers could contribute to it. Such as hearing stories in the news about terrorism, plane crashes, or plane violence. Active Imagination that a fire or illness is spreading throughout the plane. Take-off and landing or the turbulence could cause aerophobia.
How is aerophobia diagnosed?
Aerophobia does not have a specific diagnostic test. Your doctor will carefully examine your symptoms and ask you a series of questions about your fear of flying. Aerophobia can range from mild (you will fly if necessary, but it causes you anxiety) to severe (you’ve refused to fly for more than five years).
Ways to get over your fear of flying
Anti-anxiety medications can be used to treat anxiety caused by flying. Exposure therapy, which includes the use of virtual reality equipment, can be used to treat the condition, and it works best when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Relaxation techniques and aviation safety education can also be beneficial when used in conjunction with other approaches.
A new and advanced treatment for aviophobia is virtual reality exposure therapy. This treatment employs computer technology to immerse the patient in a virtual reality of flying.
How to Manage Your Anxiety on a Flight
Aside from seeking treatment for your phobia, there are some things you can do on your own to help you cope with your fear of flying.
Overcoming a fear of flying takes a lot of courage and discipline. But it is possible with the right treatment. the first step you have to do is to successfully identify the triggers that cause your anxiety.
Identifying the triggers that cause your anxiety is only the first step in managing your aerophobia. Focus on educating yourself about the flying process. Understanding how airplanes work, why turbulence occurs, and what different sounds and bumps mean can contribute to making flying less stressful.
Also start to Practice relaxation techniques. Over time, these techniques may help lessen your fear of flying.
Know Your Triggers
There are numerous triggers and they are different for each individual. They can be thoughts, images, sensations, and memories. Which can be triggered by the sound of turbulence, turbulent takeoffs and landings, terrorist attacks, crashes, social anxiety, and being too far from home.
Some passengers are afraid of fire, illness spreading through the air system, using the restrooms, or violence on a plane. Others may have a “bad feeling” about their flight, fearing that their worries will predict a disaster.
Focus on controlling what you can
Try to control things that are within your grasp by eliminating any related sources of stress as much as possible, since you don’t need to be worried about missing your flight as well as being anxious about being on that same flight.
Concentrate on what you can manage
Try to manage what you can by removing as many sources of stress as feasible.
Expect to feel anxious. Say to yourself, “It’s OK,” as soon as you notice your symptoms. Say something like “I anticipate feeling anxious right now. I’ve got”.
Breathing exercises are very helpful in these situations.
Once you acknowledge your anxiety, try to distract yourself with a magazine or listing to your favorite song, or do anything that can help calm yourself.