Aerophobia, Aviophobia, or simply the fear of flying refers to the anxiousness towards air travel and fear of sitting in flying plane. In the modern times when most of the across-border and even domestic travelling relies on air travel, this phobia of yours can be pretty tough to bear with at times.
If the idea of boarding a plane causes your anxiety and anxiousness to a considerable extent, we are sorry to break this to you but you cannot expect this fear to go away on its own. Of course, you can get yourself enrolled for TSA PreCheck and do all that can help ease your flight, but this phobia can never be ignored. Rather, you need to understand it better so you can work towards winning over it.
Don’t worry, this condition is very common in people all across the world. But, with right knowledge and by working towards lessening the impact of this phobia during flights, you can easily win against it. The key is to understand this phobia in depth and then try its possible treatments. Below, we are sharing all the knowledge that you’d need in this regard. So, keep reading:
What Causes Aerophobia?
As with other phobias and mental conditions, aerophobia also has multiple causes behind its development in any individual. Sometimes, many of these causes together mix up to intensify the phobia. Other times, just a single cause keeps budging the flyer in a subtle manner throughout their flight. Realistically speaking, every case of Aerophobia is different. Below are some of the most common causes this fear that you should know about:
- A traumatic flight experience (especially during childhood)
- Excessive consumption of news about flight crashes, hijacks, terrorism, airplane violence and more
- Fear of take-offs and landing that keeps your anxious throughout the flight
- Stories about fires on plane and illnesses spreading through them
- Excessive turbulence
- Some other phobias can also combine to make you afraid of your flight. The most common ones of these phobias are as under:
- Acrophobia (Height phobia)
- Agoraphobia (It refers to the fear of not being able to escape a place of danger. This phobia leads the sufferer to avoid leaving their house at all)
- Anthropophobia (fear or people and big gatherings, a worse form of introversion)
- Claustrophobia (fear of narrow and crowded spaces)
- Mysophobia (fear of getting infected with germs and other invisible organisms)
Whenever someone goes to a psychologist to seek help regarding aerophobia, the first step is to find out what causes them this fear. Knowing what is your reason behind being scared of the flights can help you figure out a better way to overcome this and can also speed up the process of proper treatment.
What Are The Common Symptoms?
Maybe, you are anxious about a flight because it’s the first time for your boarding a plane or going far away from home all alone. In such situations, being a bit afraid and anxious at the airport checking lines and while boarding the place is normal and very human. It cannot be confused with aerophobia at all.
But, if this is your first time on a plane and you want to ensure that what you’re suffering from is not aerophobia, you need to be very alert towards your body and whether or not it shows the symptoms associated to aerophobia.
Some of the most common symptoms that you need to be very alert to are as follows:
- You don’t want to hear the news or watch any movie that has air travel incidents in it
- You get panic attacks before your flight and even inside the plane
- You get significant chills
- There is a feeling of dizziness and headache
- You can feel your heart beating faster than normal
- You get sweaty way too much
- Nausea is another common symptom of aerophobia
- You tremble and shake a little too much
- You get an upset stomach a few hours before your flight
There is no specific test that you can run to detect the presence of this phobia in someone. Your therapist might ask you some questions related to your symptoms and your idea about flying and airplanes to come up with a conclusion on whether or not you suffer this aerophobia.
How is Aerophobia Treated?
Nowadays, many people request their therapists to suggest them some anxiety controlling and sedating medicines to take during and before the flight. These medicines do work but for a short period of time. Someone who has to travel via planes a lot should not rely on this medicine and must not use them frequently.
For a long-term treatment of this phobia, you can opt for either of the two therapies or a combination of them both, depending on what your therapist has to suggest. These two treatments are as follows:
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on helping you change your mindset and attitude towards the idea of flying. Your therapist might use a lot of techniques to train your mind in a way that changes your perception of flights and air travel.
They can help you learn the basics of a plane’s working and how secure it is. They can show your positive stats about airlines and how air travel is better and safer than other forms of travelling. Your therapist can also help you learn better ways to manage your anxiety and fear triggers while on a flight so you can easily pass this time.
2. Exposure Therapy
As the name itself suggests, this therapy involves slowly exposing you to ideas, experiences, and thoughts that involve airports, planes, and air travel. This consistent exposure to elements that your brain fears, helps internalize these things and reduces your fear of flights over time. However, this therapy alone is not very successful and must be combined with other form of treatment. Also, it takes a lot of time for this one to work on an anxious and scared mind.
So, make sure you are ready to give yourself some time to overcome your fears!