Many people suffer from a fear of flying. These fears are often heightened after an error tragedy such as 9/11, but they are not be sole reason to blame. The phobia dictionary classifies the fear of flying as aerophobia. This fear has also been known as a be aviatophobia, aviophobia, or pteromerhanophobia.
There are many different causes of aerophobia. These causes include being previously traumatized during an air travel experience. This traumatization is usually connected somehow with the act of flying so it leaves the sufferer with a deep-seated fear of being an aircraft. Other reasons include fear of turbulence, fear of terrorism or hijacking, fear of heights, fear of being an enclosed place, fear of crashing, and feeling of not being in control.
There are also some that link aerophobia to the media sensation that comes after an airplane crash. The media often over dramatize an airplane crash as they don’t give as much information to individual automobile crashes. There are more automobile crashes every year been airplane crashes. But because airplane crashes make the evening news and the front page of the paper when automobile crashes do not eat can foster a sense of fear of flying.
Another reason people fear flying is because they don’t understand the mechanisms of aviation. All fixed wing aircraft life to the air naturally. The jet engines attached to the wings only help to maintain altitude during flight. However, many people believe that should one of these engines fail it will cause an immediate crash of the aircraft even though this is not true. Not being able to understand how aviation works only fuels the already unjustified fear the person may have a flying.
Fear of flying is so common that many celebrities would rather take a bus or train than get on an airplane. These famous names include:
For these and many other people just like them there is a way to overcome aerophobia. There are many different treatments that patients can choose from to learn how to cope with their fears. One way, and probably one of the most popular choices, is through medication. Taking antianxiety medication such as benzodiazepines or other relaxants prior to buying can help reduce a person’s fear. Because the medication decreases the person’s reflective ability, someone suffering from this fear can fly easier.
A double-blind study was recently completed that shows this method of treatment can actually impair a person from becoming used to flying. Since this is the case from a logical and nonpharmacological paths to conquering fear of flying are seldom intermixed. Other anxiety disorders can use a combination of both exposure techniques and antianxiety medications while this one cannot. That being said those who fly infrequently may benefit from taking and antianxiety medication approximately one hour before flying.
Exposure therapy, however, is a tried-and-true treatment that will help the patient overcome their fears. This will take time, and as the double-blind study has proven taking anxiety medication while trying to learn how to cope with your fears may not work well. The first step in exposure therapy, according to the phobia dictionary, is to educate the patient on how aircraft works, how an aircraft we ask to turbulence, and the appropriate statistics of air crashes versus automobile. The behavior therapy may also include computer-generated images, ridings in a full flight simulator, and finally getting onto the aircraft for a short flight. If the phobic flyer can fly in the cockpit and watch the pilot’s facial expression during an unexpected noise or motion, the sense of danger can actually be reduced.
Aerophobia is the fear flying. While it there may be some justification to fearing being in the air, studies have proven time and again flying is safer than driving a car. There are treatments to help those with this phobia conquer their fears and learn to fly.