Aerophobia, as the name, suggests something with the air and it is the fear of flying. It is one of the phobias which makes a person not take a plane to fly to a required destination. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people have a moderate phobia of flying however a highly scared Aerophobia is a lot less common. These phobias tend to appear when a person experiences travel delays, flying during any dangerous moments or flying during bad weather.
Symptoms of Aerophobia
Aerophobic people have symptoms that are common to all other phobias such as:
- Rapid Increase in Heart Rate
- Excessive sweating, shaking.
- Cloudy Thinking, feeling disoriented
- GI distress, irritability, etc.
Some people might appear comfortable at the airport but when they start boarding the flight they tend to experience this fear, others while starting their journey might experience which is quite common.
Aerophobia is difficult if you have other related phobias such as Claustrophobia which is fear of staying at a confined place, Germophobia which is the fear of getting affected by germs and Fear of heights which is difficult as you will be flying at a certain distance.
It has also been noted that some of the physical conditions also can lead to Aerophobia if a person has Sinus or ear blockage, ear conditions, a person facing vertigo effect, a person having cardiovascular disease, etc, can experience aerophobia due to his underlying physical condition.
Causes of Aerophobia
There is no specific reason of how Aerophobia might have caused, however, it is said that the aerophobia might have caused due to
1. Previous Traumatic Flight experience: A person who might have experienced a traumatic flight before or have watched extensive news coverage of airline disaster etc might induce a person to develop Aerophobia.
2. Environment: Aerophobia might have been caused due to the surrounding environment where your close friends/family members might have been experiencing the same phobia which while you notice can experience.
Treatment for Aerophobia
Similar to other phobias that one might suffer, Aerophobia can be treated via these methods
a) Group Classes: A person with Aerophobia can attend group classes which they use techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat a large group simultaneously. These classes tend to be around 3-4 days and they help to minimize the sense of Aerophobia.
b) Individual Treatment: A person can consult the doctor if he/she feels the fear of flying is there. The doctor will try to help you as much as possible using various techniques that might help you to overcome the fear.
c) Exposure: A person can overcome Aerophobia when he/she is flying in a controlled atmosphere. Also using flight simulation, VR the person can overcome however, it takes one’s will power to make up their mind to undergo Exposure therapy.
d) Anxiety management techniques: A person can try to minimize the phobia using anxiety management techniques such as meditation, music, deep breathing technique, reading positive things, etc.