Fear of Flying (Aviophobia)

Natural remedy for overcoming fear of flying disorders and fear of flying phobias.

    natural remedy for overcoming fear of flying

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    1. What is Fear of Flying?
    2. Diagnosing Fear of Flying
    3. What Causes Fear of Flying?
    4. Help for Fear of Flying
    5. More Information on Fear of Flying

    What is Fear of Flying (Aviophobia)?

    Having a fear of flying (otherwise known as Aviophobia) can be extremely difficult and restricting. The world is becoming closer with the convenience of internet, telephones and air-travel, and in many circumstances flying is becoming a modern-day necessity. Close relatives immigrate, business opportunities demand travel to far off places and the wonders of the world are only a plane ticket and a few hours away.

    While many people experience mild anxiety before a flight, those with Aviophobia experience overwhelming symptoms of stress and anxiety which commonly affect their functioning.

    Fear of Flying is a specific phobia that affects millions of people worldwide. Fortunately there are various treatment options that can help conquer the fear that is keeping you grounded.

    Symptoms of Aviophobia

    A person with a fear of flying feels intense anxiety at even the thought of having to travel by air and will usually avoid it at all costs. In some cases, when a flight is unavoidable, a person with Aviophobia will endure the flight with an over-whelming sense of nervousness, possibly even experiencing a panic attack. Other common symptoms expressed are:

    • Nausea, vomiting and motion sickness
    • Dizziness or a feeling of ‘falling’
    • Sweating
    • Muscle tension
    • Heavy breathing
    • Increased heart rate or palpitations
    • Shaking or trembling

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    Diagnosing Aviophobia

    If your fear of flying has reached phobic proportions, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a psychologist. The psychologist will offer fear of flying advice and assess you by asking about your fear, how it started, the severity of your fear reactions and how it affects your life. Professional fear of flying advice will give you another perspective on overcoming fear of flying.

    Phobias often occur along with other disorders, so a psychologist will also try to rule out other problems such as another category of anxiety disorder, depression or substance abuse before a diagnosis of specific Phobia is made.

    What Causes Fear of Flying?

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    The causes of fear of flying are vast and differ between people. Sometimes it is due to a bad past experience such as mid-air turbulence, or loss of a loved one in a plane crash.

    Overcoming fear of flying is also difficult because hearing horrific news stories or T.V. programs of plane crashes may be enough to develop a phobia. Many people have developed a fear of flying after the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA.

    Additional Fears Behind Aviophobia
    • Small enclosed spaces (claustrophobia)
    • Heights
    • The dangers of turbulence
    • The risk of crashing
    • Flying over water
    • Relinquishing all control to the unseen, unknown pilots at the front of the plane
    • Depending on the unknown mechanics of a machine for your safety
    • Fear of having a panic attack
    • Fear of possible terrorism
    • Motion sickness
    • Taking off, or landing

    Sometimes this anxiety can be traced back to the fear of the unknown and a lack of information. Many people feel anxious because they feel physical sensations, such as a loss of balance as the plane dips.

    Others might hear noises that they do not understand and think this may be a sign of danger, when in fact these are normal and to be expected on any flight.

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    Help for Fear of Flying

    Overcoming fear of flying can be done. There are a number of treatment options for someone suffering from this or any other fear, including drug therapy, natural remedies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques and airline affiliated programs. Explore your options and find which would be best for you by seeking the fear of flying advice you need.

    Treatment Options for Aviophobia

    Drug Therapy

    Psychiatric medication such as benzodiazepines or other relaxant drugs are sometimes prescribed to temporarily control symptoms of Aviophobia. However it must be kept in mind that drug treatments do not treat the underlying disorder and may cause unwanted side-effects. Always remember to "test-out" any medication on the ground where medical supervision is at hand, to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions – as this is not something you only want to discover mid-flight!

    Natural Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies

    Certain natural remedies may be taken to help control the anxiety associated with flying. Herbs such as Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort), Passiflora incarnata, Scutellaria laterifolia (Scullcap) and Valerian are often recommended for anxiety and will help to calm the nerves and relax the mind during your flight. There are also excellent herbal and homeopathic remedies for travel sickness. As with any other phobia, a holistic approach using a combination of treatments will prove to be most successful.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Desensitization is one of the more commonly used methods in treating fear of flying. This will entail gradually facing the idea of flying, starting with simply talking about it, or visiting an airport, to eventually taking a flight. You will be taught relaxation methods and coping techniques to combat your phobia.

    Relaxation Techniques

    Meditation, deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques can help reduce your anxiety during flights. Practice these at home first so that they can be easily applied when you need them. Especially composed CD’s can help to reduce anxiety, relieve tension, take your mind off things and regulate breathing during the flight.

    Airline-Affiliated Programs

    Many Airlines now offer special programs to help people overcome their fear of flying. These may include desensitization sessions where you can actually board the plane without taking off, information provision so that you understand more about the workings of planes and what can be expected, as well as other coping strategies that have been successful for others.

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    More Information on Fear of Flying

    Tips for Coping with Fear of Flying
    • Get informed! The more you understand about flying, turbulence, and the statistical risk of flying, the more you will realize that there is little to fear. Statistically, flying is the safest form of travel.
    • Try and figure out what scares you about flying and then address that problem. Most often it’s another underlying fear that needs to be dealt with such as a fear of panic attacks or claustrophobia.
    • During a flight, try keeping your mind occupied so that you don’t think catastrophic thoughts about what can go wrong. Take along magazines or make use of the on-flight entertainment and watch a movie – or you can consider flying at night, when it is less disorientating.
    • Introduce yourself to your pilot and inform the air hostesses of your fear. You may find comfort in meeting and seeing the confidence of the people that you are entrusting your safety to.
    • Avoid stimulants such as sugar or coffee on the day of the flight. These may increase the symptoms of your anxiety.
    • Get to the airport early. Feeling rushed will make you feel more anxious by the time you board the flight.
    • Try not to use alcohol to relax you. Because of the difference in altitude, it may have a greater effect on you than you’d hoped to which may make you feel more out of control.
    • Book a seat near the front of the aircraft as the turbulence is less noticeable there. If you do experience turbulence, don’t tense up. Rather try relaxing your body and going with the flow. Turbulence is very common during flights and is not a cause for alarm.

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