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Aerophobia (Fear of Flying) – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

People are scared of different things. For some, it’s the fear of heights; for others, it’s the fear of flight. In the next few paragraphs, we will take a look at the fear of flying, otherwise called acrophobia or aerophobia.

Aerophobia is derived from two words, “aero,” which means ariel or to fly, and “phobia,” which means fear.

Acrophobia/Aerophobia is a prevalent type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by an extreme sense of fear and panic for anything that involves flying.

It isn’t redirected to fear of getting on airplanes and other means of air transport, but also fun activities like flying a parachute e.t.c.

A lot of people get nervous or anxious when they have to fly. Indeed, it can be an unpleasant experience having to deal with the crowded space, unpredictable turbulence, and the sensations of taking off and landing.

However, some individuals experience a strong sense of panic or fear when they get on a flight, and that feeling forces them to avoid flying completely.

If such people must arrive on a plane, then there is a likelihood that they will experience panic attacks or some other severe symptoms of anxiety.

Aerophobia may not be a term that you are very familiar with, but it is a common phobia that affects approximately 20 million Americans.

Causes of Aerophobia

There is no particular cause of aerophobia presently, as the fear is known to stem from a combination of various factors.

It is a fact that the fear of heights can be inherited from parents, and the fear of getting on planes or flying, in general, may be modeled to children by their parents.

People may also develop the phobia for flying from increased exposure to games, movies, and other content that show accidents that involve flying or plane crashes.

The most common reason why a lot of people are afraid of flying is that they feel completely powerless over what occurs while flying; thus the fear they feel is for their safety.

While the phobia may force a person to avoid flying, the longer fights are avoided, the more intense this fear may become.

Sometimes the fear of flying is also linked with other phobias, such as fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), or even the fear of vomiting (emetophobia).

There is a possibility that paying attention to these specific phobias and solving them can help fix the aerophobia.

Common Symptoms of Aerophobia

There are several physical symptoms that may manifest during an Aerophobia episode. Some of them are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Trembling
  • Cold hands
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Choking sensation

These signs mentioned above do not only occur when a person is involved in flying activities. They may also occur when a person is watching media that involves flying, thinking about flying, or when they are about to board a plane.

Treatment Options for Aerophobia

Aerophobia is either treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of both treatment methods. Anti-anxiety drugs are used to assist with managing symptoms of Aerophobia before and during a flight.

The most used therapy for the treatment of Aerophobia is exposure therapy by allowing a person to gradually become more adjusted to the ideas and sensations associated with flying.

Also helpful, is cognitive behavioral therapy as it can also help a person put the reality of any irrational thought patterns they may have about flying to test.

Aerophobia is a treatable condition, so if you feel like you have it, do not waste any time in reaching out to a mental health professional who can be of help.

Many mental health professionals are great at treating specific phobias or any other anxiety-related problems. There is an excellent possibility that you will find a mental health professional who is great at treating aerophobia because of how common it is.

What to do when you have Aerophobia

Don’t be scared to open up: The first step to getting treated for Aerophobia is to acknowledge the fact that the fear is present.

A lot of people find it difficult to accept that their fear of flying is a problem that needs a solution, mainly because taking flights is something that a large number of people do regularly.

So, it is normal for people to feel embarrassed that they have a phobia for flying. It is vital to bear in mind that phobias are a general thing, so you are not the only person going through whatever you are feeling.

It will be helpful if you discuss with friends colleagues and family members about your fears as you may be able to find one or two people who also have aerophobia, and they may share tips on how to overcome it or even recommend a professional to help you tackle it.

Get more information about it

One reason why a lot of people are afraid of things is that they don’t know much about them, and that applies to flying.

So, this means that an easy way to get over your phobia for flying is to read articles about safe flying or learn about the things you fear most about flying. If you have a problem with turbulence, all you have to do is search for videos, articles, or books that explain the science behind flying and turbulence.

One of the best ways to challenge your fears is to have the right facts. When you’re sure of what you’re getting into, nothing can make you uncomfortable.

Have plans to fly

if you have a phobia for flying and you have no reason to fly, then you have no reason to challenge your phobias.

However, if there is that one place you’ve always wanted to visit, that family member you haven’t seen in years, or even if you have a job that requires you to fly, then most definitely, you would have a reason to work on your face.

Begin to make plans on places to visit, check the internet for amazing cities to spend the holidays. I bet my bottom dollar, once you fly once or twice visiting these places, you will ultimately overcome your fears.

Don’t be too shy to seek professional assistance

Never be too scared or ashamed to ask for help. You’re not the only person who has had a real phobia, and you would not be the last.

So, take it upon yourself to ask for help from professionals, and see how they can help you on your journey to achieving a fear-free mindsets when next you have to fly.

Besides, a good thing about seeking help is that when next you find someone who is going through the same problem, you would also be of help to them.

The bottom line

Aerophobia is not a sickness. It is nothing to be scared about, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Take a bold step today to find help with overcoming your fear of flights. There are many professionals available to help you overcome your fear of flying.

You can find some online, and you can also get recommendations from people who have had to deal with Aerophobia, or from support groups around you.

We hope that you have found this article very helpful. Please, leave all comments below.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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