Fear of Driving - Driving Phobia
12-17-2008, 04:40 AM
Fear of Driving - Driving Phobia
Driving phobia is very common and can affect peopleâs lives dramatically especially if they need to drive for a living or use the car every day to get to work. Some people have been known to give up their business because of the severity of their driving phobia.
One of the biggest horrors of driving phobia is not feeling in control of the ability to control the vehicle, as this will strike terror into the heart. Have you experienced the belief you will involuntarily swerve across the road into the path of other vehicle, perhaps even had a slight urge of wanting to do that, even though your head will be screaming at you to the effect it is highly dangerous.
People suffering from this phobia whilst driving usually sweat profusely and find it difficult to hold the steering wheel as their hands are shaking so much. These symptoms can often be exaggerated if driving in remote or inaccessible areas.
Many people with driving phobia avoid driving during rush hour, avoid joining motorways, avoid driving in bad weather, always make excuses for not driving and always feel that they will lose control and cause an accident.
Driving phobia can be caused by a traumatic or unsettling event (such as an accident) but is usually caused by something much milder (like overtaking on a freeway, being stuck in a jam or going over a high bridge) which normally would be okay but at the time the individual was perhaps a lot more stressed that normal (background stress levels raised by other things like tiredness or financial, work or relationship problems) and this tipped them into a mild panic attack. The irrational mind (which is also responsible for survival and instincts) creates a pattern of this event and matches this to future times and places, triggering the same kind of panic response again and again. This builds into a phobia.
So driving phobia is linked to different things for different people - to driving on wide open roads like freeways (most common), to expressways, small roads, hills, high roads, bridges, flyovers, particular routes, junctions, to maneuvers (especially overtaking), to being boxed in by heavy traffic, to being close to particular vehicles (usually large or high-sided ones) or to being limited to a particular speed. It often starts on freeways and spreads to smaller highways or expressways, then to smaller roads, restricting the routes, speed and distances that can be traveled.
The most common place for driving phobia to start is on a motorway but even if not this will be a place that most people fear the most. Just the sight of the blue motorway signs can sometimes be enough to start all the symptoms of a panic attack in a person with driving phobia. Many people find it difficult to drive the expected speed on the motorway and instead stay in the nearside lane or even hard shoulder crawling along at slow speed. When the phobia reaches its highest level and the terror intensifies many drivers have to stop on the hard shoulder and wait to be recovered by the police motorway patrol. Many people will try and find alternative routes to avoid driving on the motorway causing unnecessary mileage by using less busy roads such as dual carriageways or small A roads. However, itâs not long before even these roads start to cause problems.
Just like many other phobias the symptoms of driving phobia are many and varied but can include any of the following;
Restricted or fuzzy vision or hearing.
While many people consider phobias to be a sign of weakness, the opposite is probably true! The ability to automatically, and consistently avoid perceived danger is quite a powerful skill. When the skill can be better employed, 'normal' functioning can be restored.
There are now effective, pain-free, scare-free and drug-free treatments available for driving phobia, indeed, for any phobia.
Common phobia treatments include the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which can provide effective and fast relief, and Cognitive Therapy - designed to change the way you think about driving - is also useful but often involves exposure therapy and is more long-term.
Hypnotherapy will help you overcome your fear of driving and turn you into a cool, calm and confident driver. Because this treatment focuses on retraining the unconscious mind, once treated you will be able to see the perceived threat or danger in a more rational, resourceful and often humorous way. Imagine that, the thought of driving no longer being scary, but rather something you can laugh at!
It probably comes as no surprise that the changes to ones life after ending their fear of driving can be nothing short of incredible. Those that have successfully overcome their fear of driving have had results such as;
Being able to travel again, regardless of how far from home or their "comfort zone"
No longer having a fear of driving on the highway or interstate
Crossing bridges without anxiety
Being comfortable on their commute to work, or when driving long distances for their jobs
Allowing their children to participate in activities that require driving or travel
Putting an end to panic attacks while driving
Not needing someone to come with them when they're in the care to feel safe
No longer having scary thought racing through their heads
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