What Is Fear of Flying and How Can It Be Treated?
Air travel is the safest mode of transportation—however, the thought of being thousands of feet up in the air makes some people’s hearts race. But for others, it’s much worse: it can lead to full-blown panic attacks.
Aerophobia is what it exactly sounds like. This condition can be debilitating, with sufferers often avoiding any chance at air travel.
“Millions of people suffer from the fear of flying worldwide, which has caused serious problems that lead to missed opportunities involving travelling. Fortunately, many treatments like counselling and therapy can help people overcome their fear,” says expert health consultant Layla Colling from Health Hero.
If you’re struggling with the fear of flying, here are some things that you should know:
What Is Fear of Flying or Aerophobia?
Aerophobia is an intense fear of flying and being in an aircraft or heights; this condition is also known as aviophobia. People with this fear may fear a specific mode of transportation, particularly aeroplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, or blimps.
This phobia is not necessarily associated with the fear of a plane crashing. Instead, people who suffer from this trauma experience anxiety and triggers from the anticipation of flying and thinking about flying.
People with aerophobia experience sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, chest pain or tightness, headache, and fainting upon boarding an aeroplane or while waiting for a flight.
What Are The Causes of Fear of Flying?
The exact cause of fear of flying varies per person, but many factors may contribute to the development of this phobia.
Aerophobia can be caused by a traumatic experience involving aeroplanes, like experiencing strong turbulence or an actual aeroplane crash. Other causes include anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Aerophobia can also be associated with other existing phobias like claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), agoraphobia (fear of not being able to escape), and acrophobia (fear of heights).
How Is Fear of Flying Treated?
If you have aerophobia, it can affect your life in many ways. Maybe it makes you nervous about taking vacations or visiting family who live far away from home. Or perhaps it makes it hard for you to travel for work because your job requires frequent travel by plane.
Aerophobia is not just a nuisance; it can be debilitating if left untreated. Fortunately, many treatments help manage this condition so that it would not keep you from doing what you want in life.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is often used to treat aerophobia because it can help patients change their thoughts about aeroplanes and reduce their fears about flying. Therapists may also use it in combination with other therapies such as hypnotherapy.
- Gradual exposure therapy is another way to treat aerophobia—this involves gradually exposing yourself to situations associated with air travel that make you feel anxious until they no longer cause anxiety.
What Is The Success Rate Of The Treatment?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. The success rate of gradual exposure therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy depends on the individual and the nature of their specific phobia.
However, some commonalities can be seen across patients undergoing gradual exposure and cognitive behaviour therapy. According to the Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice Organization (EBBP), 60-90% of treatment completers show little to no symptoms of their original disorder upon completion of the therapy.
Conquer Your Fear Of Flying
Aerophobia is a common fear, and it’s very understandable why. The thought of being up in the air makes most people uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you must suffer from fear forever!
There are plenty of ways to treat aerophobia, including cognitive behavioural therapy and gradual exposure therapy.
Clear Day Consulting offers the best treatment plans if you’re ready to overcome your fear of flying.
Contact us today and talk to our expert therapists about treatment options.