Fear of flying, aerophobia or aviophobia is the fear that some people feel traveling by airplane. It is psychological in origin and can be eliminated by following a series of tips through psychological therapy. Below we will show you the causes and types of fear of flying, some techniques to overcome it, and the medications that can be taken to minimize the symptoms of this phobia.
Below is an index of all the items we will cover in this article.
Currently, it is estimated that one in four people have a fear of flying, of which about 13% suffer from a real panic and 15% have mild or moderate discomfort when they know they will fly.
If we had to answer the question of how many people have a fear of flying, the answer would be that almost 30% of people suffer from this phobia on a daily basis. However, the fear of flying is psychological in origin and it can be treated with different techniques, depending on the intensity with which it suffers.
In most cases, the fear of flying is not a simple sudden fear generated for no reason, but the extension of a previous phobia. Therefore, before looking for possible solutions to overcome this, we need to find the true psychological origin of aerophobia. The following are the most common causes of fear of flying:
unfavorable weather conditions
Rain, wind, storms, fog, ash from a volcan activo and other atmospheric phenomena are the main causes of aerophobia in a high percentage of passengers, especially because they fear that it could lead to a plane crash.
Since storms, snow, heavy rains and in general negative weather conditions are usually more common WinterThere are passengers who are directly afraid of flying at this time of year.
Hydrophobia or aquaphobia
It is an irrational fear of water or swimming. If a person knows that the plane or helicopter will fly over the sea suffers from aquaphobia because he fears that the plane will have a mishap and fall into the sea.
However, each passenger must consider the amount of rescue and safety resources available to each aircraft, including life jackets.
Fly for the first time
Many people avoid flying all their lives precisely because they suffer from aerophobia. Others, however, cannot avoid it due to work or study reasons, among others.
For these people, the first time can be really scary, mainly because they do not know what to expect and fear that one of the above causes will occur: Turbulence, storms, high winds .
Acrophobia or vertigo
This fear means fear of heights and creates anxiety in those who suffer from it. Acrophobia is created by uncertainty and fear when imagining the possibility of falling from oneself or even a third party when traveling in company.
People who suffer from this phobia can not practice extreme sports such as skydiving or paragliding, but in addition traveling by plane it is another of their worst enemies.
People who suffer from this insecurity are often those who suffer from it NyktophobiaFear of the dark or the night.
This group is afraid to fly at night or even in dense fog or clouds because they believe that the worse the visibility conditions, the greater the risk of an accident.
However, flying without visual references has always existed, as there are countries with very few hours of light, for example. There are sophisticated navigation procedures, systems and standards that allow you to fly at night with the safety of a daytime flight.
Fear of long flights or transoceanic is possibly the result of adding all the previous causes; the thought of a person suffering from aerophobia because he will experience a long-duration flight is: the longer the duration, the greater the risk that a problem will occur.
In these cases, the comfort plays a fundamental role, so make the right decision when it comes to choosing a seat on the plane it can be very beneficial.
The presence of a companion, whether a partner, friend or family member, can be very reassuring for those who experience anxiety Traveling by plane or feeling uncomfortable.
Having someone by our side to help us relax and with whom we can counteract During the duration of the flight, this allows us to forget and even vent any anxiety.
For this reason, those who are forced to travel alone feel very uncomfortable because they have no one by their side to share their concerns. In these cases, it is advisable to inform the crew staff.
Takeoff and landing
The moments when the plane takes off and lands are key moments during an airplane trip, because that's when everything begins and ends.
Especially during takeoff, all passengers feel some sense of shock, as the plane has to reach a lot of speed to take off. Lean well on the armrest and especially chill out could be useful in these cases.
We recommend you watch this video in which a professional pilot explains step by step all the safety measures carried out to overcome your aerophobia, if it is the time of takeoff or landing before you start either of these processes:
This common phobia is nothing but the fear of closed spaces. This fear can be caused, in turn, by the fear of only being able to move or fear that there is a lack of oxygen in the room we are in.
The airplane is an enclosed place where a large number of people gather and also the seats are narrow. All this creates claustrophobia for those who suffer from it.
Many people are afraid of turbulence during flight, either because they think it will cause a plane crash, or because they fear getting dizzy or suffering an injury.
However, the turbulence that occurs in the vast majority of flights is light or moderate, so it does not pose a danger to those traveling in this aircraft.
The fear of flying produces anxiety y stress, from which several symptoms are derived, either at the physiological level, at the psychological or cognitive level, or at both levels. We list both types of symptoms below.
The physical symptoms that people affected by this phobia usually experience are:
- Muscle cramps
- Breathing difficulties
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Gastrointestinal disturbances and diarrhea
- General malaise
- Fatigue, nausea or dizziness
- Xerostomia or dry mouth
- Flushing or pallor
On a mental and emotional level, people who suffer from fear of flying usually exhibit one or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Memory errors
- Decreased reflections or distortion of perception
- Inability or difficulty to think, concentrate or make decisions
- Negativity and pessimism
In addition, people who suffer from aerophobia can reach an observable level llorar, perform movements that a manifest motor anxiety (scratching, touching the same area of the body etc.) or even be paralyzed.
Regardless of the intensity with which you suffer from fear of flying, before taking medication or using more aggressive remedies, we recommend that you follow these tips or instructions Tips. If you follow these simple tricks, you can overcome your fear and you won't have to do anything else:
- Analyze the terrain: many people, especially those who are afraid of flying because it is the first time they do it, suffer from aviophobia because they do not know what they are faced with. Therefore, it can be very useful to learn about the process of flying, read statistics or get opinions from people who have already flown and let you know what to expect.
- Prepare your flight in advance: organize a trip At the last minute, it generates anxiety and stress, even in people who do not suffer from aerophobia. Even more so for those who suffer from it. Therefore, do not leave the preparations for the last minute, because to the fears that cause the fear of flying, you can add another one due to the lack of an important document or forgetting an object necessary for the trip.
- Learn to control anxiety: We have mentioned before how to control anxiety: either with self-help books or with psychological or medical help. In any case, knowing the origin of our fear can also be a great help.
- Make yourself comfortable on the planeWearing comfortable clothes and shoes, choosing a good seat, doing something entertaining or talking to the person next to us can increase our comfort during the trip and consequently relax and make us leave aerophobia parked.
- Fly frequently: overcome the fear of flying by flying. It is as simple as that. Therefore, we recommend that you fly as often as possible, because in the end you will get used to it and realize that air travel is equal or even safer than any other means of transportation.
The fear of flying is psychological in origin and should therefore be treated with therapy and, if necessary, with the help of a psychologist. For milder cases, there are courses offered by the airlines themselves at different prices to help passengers with aerophobia overcome it. Another option is self-help books, like the famous Happy Flight. How to lose the fear of flying (2002) by Javier del Campo MartIn (former Iberia pilot) and Luisa del Campo MartIn-Cobos.
If psychological treatment is required, can be based on techniques such as z hypnosis. However, the most recommended method is cognitive behavioral therapy, through which the patient is gradually exposed to the situation that causes his phobia, so that he can gradually control the anxiety that it causes him. In addition, this method teaches extremely useful relaxation techniques such as those mentioned below:
- Progressive muscle relaxation: the aim is for the patient to become aware of how much tension has been created in his muscles so that they are gradually eliminated.
- Breathing control exercises: like the deep breathing technique.
- Stop thoughts: The idea is to take the negative thoughts that come to the patient's mind one by one and stop them to analyze ourselves, eventually replacing them with more positive ones.
- Distraction: this technique is the simplest of all, since it consists in finding entertainment when the moment of fear arrives. Reading, listening to music, writing, etc. They are good entertainment during a flight.
- Laughter: It's easy and available to everyone. It's as easy as trying to replace a negative thought with something that's funny or makes us smile.
Although medications To overcome aerophobia, they do not eliminate the fear, but help the passenger to relax. Thanks to one of these drugs, many people can manage a flight.
In any case, you should always go to the doctor for advice on what to consider considering our physiognomy. What you should not do is self-medicate, as this can become counterproductive and increase our anxiety.
Here are the five most common homeopathic medicines and treatments to overcome fear of flying:
- Anxiolytics like alprazolam o diazepam
- Argentum nitricum (silver nitrate)
- Gelsenium (jasmine-based natural remedy)
- Sleeping pills
It is important to always take the correct dosage of any of these medications or pills because if we abuse them we can achieve the opposite effect and increase our anxiety.
Children can also suffer from aerophobia when flying for the first time, basically because it's a new, large-scale medium that moves very fast and at high altitudes. Considering this, it is normal for a child to be afraid of this means of transportation. However, this fear can be reduced if we help them with these three simple tricks:
- Keep it entertainedBringing toys, a book or other entertainment can cause them to forget concerns.
- Expect what you will find: If he is traveling for the first time, explain what air travel looks like: Describe what an airplane looks like, show him videos, children's movies, etc.
- Make him feel safe: If a child perceives fear or anxiety in those who accompany him, he will also feel that discomfort. There is no better way to make them feel comfortable than to show them relaxed.
For babies, body contact soothes and gently rocks them. Another technique to avoid making them nervous is to speak to them in a relaxed and soft tone.