Fear of flying is the number one phobia that people contact me about.
In most cases, it turns out not to be a phobia but the person is nervous or anxious about flying.
A flying phobia, on the other hand, can be life debilitating, prevents sleep or causes vomiting many weeks before arriving at the airport.
This article helps explain the phobia in more detail.
What is a Flying Phobia?
Flying phobia refers to the fear of flying.
It is also known as aerophobia and is actually an excessive worry about flying.
This phobia is said to affect about 10% of the population, but some studies seem to suggest that a higher percentage of the population is affected.
Mostly, people who are known to have a flying phobia are known to experience increased anxiety as well as panic attacks whenever they think about flying, and many of them avoid air travel altogether.
How the fear of flying can be mistaken as a phobia
As a matter of fact, flying is the safest form of transport there is, and for this reason, the fear flying should actually not exist.
However, it has been found out that a big number of people are afraid of flying because of various different reasons.
According to Professor Robert Bor, one of the authors of a book entitled ‘Overcome Your Fear of Flying’, the fear of flying should be treated as an irrational terror.
This is because technological advancement in the aviation industry has helped make flying the safest mode of transport ever known to man.
This means that the risk of getting involved in an air crash is actually minimal.
The principal problem with people who are afraid of flying is that they project past incidences of plane crashes and apply them to themselves, and therefore end up overestimating their risk.
Leading to an irrational fear.
This fear cannot be equated to a clinically diagnosed phobia.
Because a diagnosed phobia is debilitating and takes over your life.
According to Dr Charles Goldstein, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center, there is a tremendous overlap between social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and phobia.
Dr Goldstein continues to say that when people talk about phobias, they are referring to discrete phobic reactions.
For example, if a somebody tells you that they have a flying phobia; it may not be necessarily true.
Individuals with multiple phobias tend to lump their anxieties into one socially acceptable fear, including fear of flying or heights.
Dr Goldstein continues to say that a single phobia, such as flying phobia, is very rare.
Symptoms of a flying phobia
- A sense of unreality
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- A pounding heart
- Feeling as if you are about to lose control
- Feeling as if you want to scream
Causes of a flying phobia
The following are some of the causes of flying phobia:
- Fear of closed spaces
- Fear of planes
- Fear of heights
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Fear of crashing
- Feeling that you are not in control
- Fear of motion sickness while on board a plane, which leads to vomiting
- Fear of terrorism or hijacking
- Agoraphobia: This refers to the fear of having panic attacks in certain places where escape would not be easy or can cause embarrassment.
Flying phobia Treatments
Several treatment options can be used to treat a flying phobia, including:
Flying courses provided by airlines
Today in the UK, several airports and airlines host or offer classes, stress aids, and courses to help nervous flyers. For instance, Birmingham, Norwich and Manchester airports have been offering Virgin Atlantic classes associated with flying phobia since 1997. Also, Heathrow, Gatwick and Glasgow airport also hosts a British Airways fear of flying clinic that usually holds several workshops each year.
The fee for these day courses is £229 – £325.
There are several different types of drugs that are used to treat a flying phobia, including:
This particular medication is usually sold as Ativan. It acts as an anti-anxiety medication that helps quell the fear of flying.
It comes liquid or tablet form and is taken daily on a daily basis or as prescribed. It is associated with certain side effects.
Diazepam is commonly sold as Valium.
It acts as a sedative medication to help reduce anxiety.
It comes in the form of tablets and is taken on a daily basis or as prescribed. It is also associated with certain side effects.
Hypnotherapy for Fear of Flying
Hypnotherapy is meant to help you change your thoughts and behaviours toward flying to make the experience more positive.
It will help re-evaluate the reaction of that is created by your subconscious mind, thus helping you regain control over your fear of flying.
This in return will make you feel much more at ease when anxious feelings arise.
The hypnotherapist will use relaxation techniques as well as the power of suggestion to help bring about a positive change.
He will tailor the suggestions to you to help you recognise what triggers your fear of flying, and will also help you change your reaction.
What are the benefits of using hypnotherapy for treating flying phobia?
- The treatment is very effective
- It can be tailor-made to meet your specific needs
- It helps you achieve a more profound level of relaxation, leading to significant drop in stress levels
- It can help you take back control of your life and surroundings.