Every single day, an average of 1.73 million people board flights in the United States, which makes it surprising that so many people are actively suffering from aerophobia. Aerophobia, the fear of flying, is a common phobia that affects people of all ages around the world. While some people do leave their phobia behind as they get older or spend more time flying, the fact remains that this fear, much like any other, can cause a wide variety of stressful symptoms that can make flying unpleasant or even impossible. Though this common fear can be a hindrance, the reality is that there are a variety of steps that can be taken to overcome it, and many people do exactly that. In this article, we will talk about aerophobia, its symptoms, and the techniques that people are using to overcome it every single day.
How Many People Does Aerophobia Actually Affect?
Aerophobia is actually one of the more common phobias, with many people sharing the sentiment that flying is a fairly frightening experience. Almost 40% of adults in the United States have been known to express a fear of flying to some extent, with their fears varying quite a bit in severity. On average, one in three people that you meet will have some fear of flying. These individuals might be affected differently, but the fact remains that flying is seldom a pleasant experience for them.
The Rationale Behind the Fear
When you find a modern fear that is this common, it is impossible not to wonder what exactly causes such a fear. We can link our fears of snakes and spiders to hereditary responses from more dangerous moments in history, but flying is new enough to make it worth further research. A commonly shared response, when questioned about a fear of flying, is the belief that the plane could crash.
What makes this most interesting is the fact that plane crashes are actually incredibly uncommon. On average, you are 10,000 times less likely to die in a plane crash than you are simply walking down the street. Not only that, but in the event that you are one of the unlucky few to ever face a plane crash, there is a 95.7% chance that you will survive.
Despite the low chance that you will ever experience a plane crash, many people still worry about that exact possibility, and it is fairly easy to see why. In media, plane crashes are made out to be a much bigger problem than they are. Every single time that a plane crashes or makes an emergency landing, it is headline news. This makes it seem like a common occurrence simply because of how much media attention it gets. However, the news isn’t the only problem. Hollywood is known for putting plane crashes in all kinds of movies, particularly action films. We watch countless dramatic scenes of planes going down, making it seem like a standard part of everyday life.
How Aerophobia Feels
Depending on how severe a person’s aerophobia is, they can experience a variety of different symptoms. Those with mild aerophobia might feel a mild discomfort surrounding the act of flying. They might have a faster pulse, a dry mouth, or even just a general feeling of anxiety. These symptoms might increase mildly the closer the plane gets to taking off, and they can be worsened by looking out an open window or the plane landing.
For those with more severe forms of aerophobia, it is common to experience trembling and disorientation. This feeling, which comes with not being on solid ground, can manifest itself in different ways including dizziness, headaches, or even vomiting. For some people, the panic can be severe enough to cause fainting spells or even full-blown panic attacks. In fact, people who are severely impacted will often find themselves completely unable to remain on the airplane at all.
Therapy for Aerophobia
When it comes to managing aerophobia, there are a few different steps that can be taken. As a general rule, if your phobia is severe enough to truly impact you or causes you extreme distress when it comes to flying, the best approach will always be to work with a licensed professional to help you overcome your fear and move forward with treatment. Doctors can provide prescriptions as well as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you override the fear response.
Therapists use a variety of helpful techniques that you can easily practice on your own to make yourself more comfortable with flying. Many people use exposure therapy, which focuses on gradually increasing exposure to the fear in order to help you to become more used to it and lessen the anxiety response that comes with it. This might start by looking at pictures of planes, imagining yourself on a flight, or even watching footage of flights to help you become more comfortable with the idea of flying. Other popular approaches involve learning more about flights, about safety procedures, and increasing your knowledge about airplanes so you understand what kind of machine is at work.
If you are looking for ways to relax for your next big flight, you can always take some of your own precautions. Consider working with a doctor to get something for temporary anxiety relief, drink a nice calming cup of tea, or prepare yourself with a plan to distract your mind during the flight. These approaches can help to lessen your fears so that you can have a more comfortable experience overall.
The fear of flying is something that affects plenty of people around the world, which means that there is a great support network for overcoming your fears. Medical professionals and even online forums can help you to understand that this is a common fear that can be overcome. Whether you are looking to be able to comfortably travel or you just want to overcome your fear, there are plenty of helpful approaches that you can take to overcome your fear of flying so that you can soar somewhere new.