Fear of driving or driving phobia is a very common anxiety disorder you may be surprised to know. The phobia may be mild or it may be very severe.
Whereas some individuals are scared of specific situations that they imagine they will encounter while driving, many others are simply terrified of sitting behind the wheel. This phobia may cause individuals to stay away from driving at any cost, they may get someone else to drive them around or use public transportation, however expensive or inconvenient.
The most common cause of the fear of driving is the road accidents. Such a fear may have developed as response to a traumatic incident in the past. However, such responses occur only to specific driving situations that are related to the cause of the fear.
Driving Phobia – Fear of Driving: Symptoms And Treatment Options
Other causes that result in fear of driving are more specific, that is, one may have fear of losing control of the vehicle, fear of being criticized, fear of being in a dangerous situation, fear of crashing, etc. This type of a fear is a phobia as the anxiety is disproportionate to the danger.
The fear of driving may also be related to other phobias that are present, e.g., agoraphobia. This is the anxiety that is caused when in the midst of crowds, etc. Those who suffer from agoraphobia will avoid getting into situations that are threatening such as driving on deserted roads, driving a long distance away from home, driving on bridges and tunnels, etc.
Performance anxiety is also seen to be another cause. Claustrophobia or fear of enclosed spaces is seen to contribute to the fear of driving in some cases. Fear of authority, fear of travel, etc., can also contribute to the fear of driving.
Driving Phobia – Symptoms
Fear of driving can cause unpleasant symptoms of a physical nature for a sufferer who is behind the wheel. They include dryness of the mouth, profuse sweating, involuntary shaking, nausea, confusion of thoughts, dizziness, thoughts of losing control of the vehicle, palpitations, etc., among others. If the fear is one associated with a previous traumatic incident, intrusive thoughts about the original event may occur which can cause irritability or lack of an emotional response.
Driving Phobia – Treatment Options
It is recommended that one seeks professional help to get over driving phobia and also ensure that other conditions such as claustrophobia and agoraphobia are not present. If left untreated the phobia is seen to worsen with time.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is seen to be helpful in reconstructing beliefs that have actually caused the fear. Counseling and reasoning sessions with a therapist can help to lessen the fears. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to allay the fears through repeated practical exercises. Gradual desensitization by exposing the victim to the fearful situation again and again and teaching him/her how best to handle the anxiety that develops is seen to gradually reduce the effect of the fear.
Group therapy in which individuals with similar problems discuss and find solutions and understand the fact that they are not alone is seen to help in lessening driving phobia. Relaxation techniques may help to overcome physical difficulties that occur as a result of anxiety. Meditation and yoga are seen to give more mind and physical control. Virtual therapy is another method that is emerging as a popular treatment option.
The Fear Of Driving Cure & Treatment
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