All Posts Tagged: fear of flying

Fear of Flying – Help in South Florida

Anxiety disorders affect millions of people in the United States. Typically, anxiety disorders are characterized by extreme fear, nervousness, or worry about something specific (for example: fear of public speaking or a fear of social situations). These worries lead the person to avoid specific places or activities. One of the most common fears is a fear of flying, and it is often brought to the forefront in people who suffer from it by media coverage of airplane crashes such as the recent Asiana Airlines disaster in San Francisco.

As with any anxiety, fear of flying (also known as aerophobia or aviophobia) leads people to experience irrational thoughts of the possibility that something will happen when they fly, even though the odds against being hurt or killed in a plane crash are enormous. This fear of flying can be from anxiety over the actual process of flying or can be from a combination of several anxiety components that are not all specific to airplanes. These components can include:

  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia)
  • Worry that you will be sick in front of other passengers if your plane hits turbulence
  • Not being in control
  • Fear of heights
  • Fear of terrorism

Physically and emotionally, the symptoms that come with a fear of flying are similar to those seen in most generalized anxiety disorders. The physical symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Being easily startled
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Sweating and nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Negative expectancies
  • Impaired memory
  • Poor or clouded judgment
  • Narrowed perceptions

Because flying anxiety can ruin family vacations and make it impossible for business people to travel, it is beneficial to try one of the many effective ways to cope with a fear of flying:

  • Know what to expect: educating yourself to understand the sounds and sensations of flying can help you realize the aircraft will not fall apart during flight
  • Realize that being paralyzed with fear will not make you any safer
  • Avoid watching disaster movies or media coverage about airplane crashes prior to your flight. Keep in mind that, for every plane crash, thousands of other planes make it safely to their destination
  • If you are claustrophobic, choose an aisle seat so you don’t feel closed in
  • Focus on something that can help you relax instead of focusing on your fear. Bring a book, a puzzle book, music, an iPad or tablet with you while you travel. These distractions give you something else to focus on.

If your fear of flying can’t be overcome with one of these techniques, contact a mental health professional. They can help you find relief through:

  • Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or desensitization, which can help you replace your negative thoughts with positive, realistic ones
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Exposure therapy where people experience simulated flying to help manage their anxiety and overcome their fears
  • Medications

The fear of flying can be debilitating, but it can be treated and overcome. For more information on how you can overcome fear of flying, Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

 

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Don’t Let Travel Anxiety Ruin Your Vacation!

Vacations offer the chance to relax and escape the normal pressures of work and responsibility. They can be opportunities to explore, try new things, or catch up with old friends. But for some people, travel can be a source of extreme anxiety that leads to shakiness, difficulty breathing, and heart palpitations.

What is Travel Anxiety?

Travel anxiety and the fear of traveling has been recognized as an official (simple) phobia by the American Psychiatric Association. There are lots of situations that can lead a person to experience travel-related anxiety. Some of these examples might include:

  • Worry about being injured during travel
  • The possibility of lost luggage
  • The unfamiliarity of a strange destination

Ultimately what all these examples lead to is a fear of losing control. Travel presents unfamiliar situations, which is unnerving for many people.

How Can You Ease Travel Anxiety?

Successful travel is achieved by identifying what these anxiety-inducing triggers are for you. If you suffer from travel anxiety, take time before your trip to make a list of all the concerns you have. Then, go through the list one-by-one and create a solution for each trigger. Some examples, based on the earlier list, might include:

  • Looking up hospitals and emergency information at your destination in case an injury occurs.
  • Saving extra money in case your luggage is lost and new clothes need to be purchased. Consider sending important items through the mail instead of carrying them in your luggage.
  • Researching your destination. Where are you going while you’re there? How will you get to each place? Where will you eat while you’re out? Planning ahead will make the destination easier to navigate.

Ongoing therapy sessions can also help change your response to an anxious situation. In some cases, depending on the severity of your anxiety, your doctor may suggest medication, sedatives, or antidepressants to use during travel.

Otherwise, give yourself permission to have an imperfect trip. For so many people the image of that perfect vacation is what fuels their anxiety. Recognizing that your vacation may not go perfectly sets you up for success.

For more information on travel anxiety or to get help with this and other phobias, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Boca Raton Psychologist Discusses Fear Of Flying

Millions of people across the country suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders. The typical disorder is characterized by extreme fear, nervousness, or worry that leads a person to avoid specific places or activities. Dr. Andrew Rosen, a Boca Raton psychologist, notes that one of the most commonly known fears is a fear of flying. He says that, as with any anxiety, there is an irrational exaggeration of the possibility of something bad happening even though the risk of being hurt or killed in a plane crash is one in many millions. Additionally, a fear of flying can involve several components of anxiety that are not specific to airplanes. These components can include:

  • Not understanding the reasons for strange sounds and sights around you
  • Being dependent on the judgment of an unknown person (in this case, the pilot)
  • Fear of heights
  • Dislike or fear of enclosed spaces or crowded conditions
  • Sitting in hot, stale air
  • The possibility of terrorism

The physical and emotional symptoms associated with a fear of flying are similar to those seen in most anxiety disorders. The physiological symptoms can include:

  • Muscle tension and labored breathing
  • Chest pain and/or heart palpitations
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Flushed or pale face

The psychological symptoms can include:

  • Impaired memory
  • Narrowed perceptions
  • Poor or clouded judgment
  • Negative expectancies

The Boca Raton psychologist says there are many coping strategies that can be effective when working through a fear of flying, such as:

  • Expanding your awareness beyond the unpleasant situation. Realize that being paralyzed with fear will not make you any safer.
  • Understanding that your anxiety won’t disappear overnight. Celebrate even the smallest successes you have, such as making it to the airport, then making it on to the plane, then getting through the takeoff. Take one thing at a time.
  • Focusing on what you can do to relax instead of focusing on your fear. Many people bring books, puzzle books, music, or computers with them while they travel. Having something like this gives you something else to focus your energy on.

The fear of flying can be a debilitating anxiety but it can certainly be treated and overcome. For more information on this or other anxiety disorders and their treatment methods, contact Boca Raton psychologist, Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

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