Aerophobia is the deep dread or irrational fear of flying either in aeroplanes, helicopters or other flying vehicles. Nearly 25% of air travellers are Aerophobics. Aerophobia is closed linked to claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces) and/or Acrophobia (fear of heights).
Is there a work trip, family vacation coming up and you feel anxiety at the thought of flying? Then there are possible chances that you are suffering from aerophobia.
Owing to work demands, professional ethics and this Modern age of communication and technology, flying has become a necessity for ease of work.
Victims of the fear of flying often go far lengths to avoid family vacations or work trips that require them to fly in an air vessel, this causes them to avert and give excuses which may be detrimental to their career and personal life.
TYPICAL SYMPTOMS OF AEROPHOBIA:
Fear of flying symptoms are manifested both physically and psychologically.
The physical symptoms include;
* Sweating, trembling
* Increased heart rate
* Nausea, vomiting and other forms of gastrointestinal distress
The psychological symptoms are;
* Irritation, dizziness
* Thoughts of falling to death and near death thought (thanatophobia)
* Inability to think clearly, disorientation and nervousness.
Most aerophobic individuals begin to experience these physical and psychological symptoms upon close proximity with the air port. They show signs of irritability, misdirected anger at staff/family/friends/passers-by, or a major panic attack while non-Aerophobic individuals sit with a newspaper and may only show signs of distress upon boarding the aircraft.
CAUSES AND CONDITIONS LEADING TO AEROPHOBIA:
Aerophobia can be linked with many other social phobias such as claustrophobia (the fear of
confined spaces), here, the Aerophobe gets greater anxiety attacks on being in a confined space which he cannot escape from on impending danger and feels trapped. It can also be traced to acrophobia (the fear of heights).
Xenophobia (fear of strangers or foreigners) can also trigger the fear of flying as the phobic becomes afraid of sitting next to people or objects s/he is not familiar with.
Physical conditions such as vertigo, tinnitus, flu, sinus problem or other nasal conditions may harbor fear of flying because of the aggravation of such conditions during the flight.
Medical conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can aggravate during the course of air travel and may be a cause of Aerophobia.
The fear of flying is usually not related to and drugs or medication but rather to a large range of past negative traumatic events, possibility of motion sickness, terrorism, news and graphics of plane crashes. Aerophobia unfortunately is hereditary and can be passed on by phobic parents to their kids.
OVERCOMING / TREATMENT OF AEROPHOBIA:
Diagnosing aerophobia is important especially if the presented symptoms are of workable magnitudes. An expert psychologist or psychiatrist can help assess the proportion of fear and suggest medication (0.5 to 1 mg of the drug Alprazolam taken half an hour before the flight is recommended) or other advice related to it.
Group and individual therapy sessions are also known to help ease aerophobia.
Mordern and trusted techniques such as virtual flight simulation are known to provide groundbreaking treatment procedures for overcoming various kinds of phobias. Individual or group cognitive behavior therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnosis can also help in overcoming the fear of flying.