Overcoming phobia in air travel
04-25-2009, 06:18 PM
Overcoming phobia in air travel
Overcoming phobia in air travel
TRAVEL phobia is fast taking the joy out of air travel for many passengers. WOLE SHADARE writes that the frequent air mishaps recorded globally could be responsible for this.
FIRST of all, it is not the inability to travel in a plane! Most 'fearful flyers' do actually fly - although they find it a very uncomfortable experience.
How each person experiences fear of flying differs considerably and can range from a mild concern that passes once you have made the decision to fly, to a powerful and over-powering fear that makes air travel impossible.
To determine how your own 'flying nerves' compares with others. Imagine a line with mild nervousness at one end, a severe and disabling phobia of air travel at the opposite end and, somewhere in the middle, the person who travels by air only when they really, absolutely, have to.
A flying phobia is a 'gut reaction' of anxiety that is triggered in by being in a plane or, in some cases, by even thinking about flying.
Once triggered the phobic response is fuelled by runaway imaginings that occur very quickly and can be very intense.
These produce anxiety symptoms that can range from mildly uncomfortable to almost overwhelming. These symptoms further intensify the fearful imaginings leading to a powerful desire to be somewhere, anywhere, else.
The key issue is that, although the situation triggers this train of events, it is our imagination that fuels it, maintains it, and makes us dread the next time. And if we do avoid traveling again, this, in turn, intensifies the phobia of flying.
In a nutshell, all phobias are the results of not knowing how to manage our own imagination. And to successfully overcome phobias, we need methods to successfully manage our own thoughts so that they do not produce the phobic feelings.
The reported multiple air catastrophes from time to time bring to fore the concerns about air safety, or rather insecurity of air transports.
It has been estimated that nearly 20 per cent of people travelling by airplane sometimes panic which later transforms into a phobia.
Passengers with delicate nervous system sometimes have to resort to psychotherapists' assistance or exclude air travel from their lives.
Travel phobia is medically known as hodophobia. This kind of phobia is associated with some other forms of fear: fear of flying, fear of trains, and for some even fear of driving. Some have the lingering fear of strange places, public places, open spaces, and the inevitable contact with strangers.
A person with travel phobia would try all means to avoid travelling. When compelled to take the car, he would prefer to drive than be a passenger. In that way, he would be in control of the situation. A person with hodophobia would always be on alert when travelling, searching for any signs of potential danger. This anxiety is what makes him irritable, tense, and exhausted after the travel, which is a natural phobic response.
What people don't know is that this avoidance even reinforces the phobia since the person with travel phobia is not allowed a chance to face what he fears. In this way, it becomes more difficult for him to come to terms with his phobia.
What are the physical responses of a person with travel phobia? Most people who fear travel, experience inability to breathe, nausea, mouth dryness, heart palpitations, inability to think and speak clearly, lack of control, sensational detachment from reality and a full-blown panic attack when faced with circumstances that would expose them to their fear.
Flights phobia can show up as a simple fear for height, as the feeling of impossibility to personally pilot the plane, and also as anticipation of an emergency with a tragic end. This very mental state, according to specialists, is what the majority of the passengers suffering from flights phobia feel.
However, an alert is produced by our mind that directly associates the word "plane" with a catastrophe or tragedy. In a state of panic, a person becomes over-anxious and sensitive to any strange noises. They fill any fact, abnormal from their point of view, with fatal meaning, and suspiciously take whispering between the stewards and the plane engine sounds. The cases when air passengers went into hysterics straight aboard are not a rare thing.
There is no medicine against flights phobia, although taking some tranquilizers or drinking a small dose of alcohol can be an option - this may help to avoid the uncomfortable anxiety during a flight. It is also better not to refuse to have a meal offered aboard - food helps to maintain the level of blood-sugar and is able to comfort in a stressful situation.
However, flights phobia is a mental disorder triggered by one's unconsciousness. It is possible to stop the fear for air travel only by finding the real reason that has caused it.
Passengers are usually advised by specialists to try to remember what caused the first "plane worry" - maybe it was a strong jolting, long landing approach, or unscheduled landing. As soon as the first fear trigger is found, passengers are advised to answer a question: if all of the previous flights they have experienced went well, must this lead to a tragedy?
Travel is part of daily life. Not being able to do so is a handicap. That is what some people who have gone through travel-related traumatic experiences suffer.
According to the experts, the best way to forget about flights phobia is to fly more frequently. Every successful landing will conduce to growth of the belief that all those air catastrophes and accidents reported are an exception rather than the rule.
There are several medical therapies that are known to treat hodophobia. These are hypnotherapy, energy psychology, and neuro-linguistic programming.
Hypnotherapy minimises the symptoms of travel phobia by reprogramming the existing thought patterns that are stored up in your subconscious, which brings about the fear.
Energy psychology is a new method of therapy that is compared to that of acupuncture sans the needles. With energy psychology, a person with travel phobia will experience these benefits: thought patterns change fast, easily changed behaviors, and the person will easily develop skills and techniques that are useful to him for a lifetime.
Neuro-linguistic programming, on the other hand, works by changing the patient's manner of creating reality.
It proposes that a phobia is a product of negative constructs that don't work very well. Through NLP, these constructs are recreated or reprogrammed for travel phobia to be minimised.
Travel phobia is a serious impediment to daily life. Every person who suffers from this should be allowed every opportunity for treatment.