Archive for August 27th, 2007

Aviophobia or Fear of Flying Phobia

First of all I know what people feel when they are afraid of flying. I was afraid, too, but I could get rid of it. Or at least most of it. But let’s take a look at this problem from some points of view:

Fear of flying is a phobia. It is caused by mostly irrational anxiety. It can have quite mild or severe sympthoms. When it is mild, it means the passenger feels stressed or embarassed when he or she has to travel by air. When it comes to a severe type of phobia, people avoid flying or even get a panic attack or physical sickness just by mentioning flying.

What do we feel about flying?

– air is not a natural place for men to be
– it is a closed, small place, I am out of control, I can not do anything when there is a problem and it is even hard to get out in case of emergency
– yes, we all know that statistically the chances of an air crash are lower than that of a car accident. But statistically it is also clear that the chance of surviving an air crash is also lower than surviving a car accident

Fear of flying is in relationship with fear of death, fear of pain, fear of closed places (claustrophobia), fear of height (acrophobia), fear of not being in control, fear of crowds (agoraphobia), fear of flying over water and sometimes people are afraid of terrorism – mostly this is not the real reason of aviophobia – and because mostly people who have any kind of anxiatey and phobia, also have panic attacks, they are afraid of having a panic attack during the flight.

When people with aviophobia think about flying, they have very intense, emotional visualization of bad things happening in an aircraft, they can see pictures of a crash, things they have never experienced. These pictures are created by their imagination.

How can you get rid of your fear?

Well, it will not be easy and you definately have to want it. When I thought about what the worse thing was for me about it, I felt I was not free. Getting rid of fear also means you can become more free both mentally and physically. Physically becasue you will be able to go wherever you want to and you do not have to think about how to avoid flying. And mentally because you can enjoy the beauty of flying – the clowds, the sunset, the landscape.

And now how to get there? If you are just a little bit afraid and you are just a little stressed, simply grab a drink at the airport (not more than 2, because alcohol in the aircraft, where there is higher pressure and less oxygen will make you drunk much faster than it would under normal circumstances).

– You can heal yourself

If you are really afraid, first of all you should think about your own feelings. What is it you are really afraid of? Crowd, closed place, height, death or all these together? If you know what it is you fear, you are one step closer to getting rid of it. The best thing you can do is learn more about aviation – learn about aerodynamics, how planes fly, how they can glide in case their engines stop, learn about in-flight computers and how pilots are trained and you will learn to trust planes and trust pilots. The first time I could get into a cockpit and have a nice talk with the pilots helped me perfectly out from my fear. Especially that moment, when we were in a heavy discussion about a former CEO of Malev and suddenly he grabbed the walkie-talkie and answered the navigation. Even when we talked he could notice he was called by navigation, understood the question and could answer it easily. That was the moment when I understood how normal it is to fly such an aircraft. Since then I have had the opportunity to fly even smaller aircrafts like an old Russian AN-2 or a Cessna 150 and I loved it.

– Medication

It is recommended not to use any medication, because psychoactive medication should be used only by patients who need them regularly.

– Psychotherapy

There is a certain level of anxiety or phobia that you can not treat yourself. In these cases you should visit a shrink, because probably you have been tramutized earlier by either a previous flight or anything else that is even not related to flying, it is just your mind that connects these two. In these cases only regression therapy – hypnosis or relaxation helps you resolve the trauma and positive visualization is also necessary to overcome the irrational part of your anxiety.

I hope I could help you with your problem. If you have further questions, please leave a comment and if I can not answer it, I will get a specialist.

By Szafi
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