Fear of Flying: Modern Disease of Female Travelers

If you think that only those who fly frequently suffer from aviophobia, think again. Quite often those who have never stepped on board the aircraft experience panic fear of flying. It is also incorrect to assume that only overly emotional individuals are prone to aviophobia because the disorder may affect anyone.

According to statistics, every third passenger has a fear of flying. This is not surprising. After all, fear is a manifestation of self-preservation instinct. Fear of air travel is as natural as fear of the dark or walks in the deserted streets at night.

However, in such cases, even despite the inexplicable fear, people continue to go to the city after midnight if needed or walk through a dark hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom.

In turn, many people who are afraid of flying still do it on a regular basis. Naturally, t heir fear causes discomfort but does not prevent them from living their lives. Yet, sometimes the simple fear transforms into a real disease, aviophobia . People suffering from this psychological disorder are afraid of thinking about airplanes, let alone flying. Flights to them mean "death", "horror", and "hopelessness."

Some people suffering from aviophobia still can fly once in a blue moon, but making such a journey for them is equal to entering a cage with wild tigers. Panic attacks, and true animal, inexplicable fear, make passengers lose control and throw tantrums, cry, or experience breathlessness and dizziness. This is just a small list of symptoms that worsen at the sight of planes. However, some people experience these symptoms on the ground when they hear words "aircraft" or "crash" in their presence.

These poor people will not enter an aircraft under any circumstances. They prefer choosing any other mode of transportation even when they have to travel long distance.

According to statistics, women lead in numbers when it comes to phobias. It seems that females are more susceptible to fear of flying. It is not entirely true. Ladies are not less brave than men, they are just not afraid to speak up about their problems and seek medical help. Men fight their phobias in silence; therefore they do not make the statistics.

There is no universal method to overcome fear of flying. Yet, there are certain techniques that will help you get distracted from the fear:

- Try not to be late to the airport. It is better to arrive earlier than worrying of being late in addition to the fear of flying. You do not need unnecessary worries and stress.

- If you are afraid of heights, do not sit next to the illuminators. If you break cold sweat during turbulence ask for a place in the front section of the plane (turbulence is particularly strong in the tail section). If you suffer in the cramped space, try to get a seat next to the emergency exit that has extra leg room.

- Some passengers rush into duty free shops before boarding, where they purchase incredible amount of alcohol. They try to neutralize their excitement and anxiety by drinking before the upcoming flight. Perhaps, it helps some, b ut we do not recommend you choose this route.

Intoxication, despite the hopes, can exacerbate the situation, because while alcohol stimulates the nervous system, it can feed your worries and fears as well. You are better off taking some mild sedative before the flight. In this case, self-hypnosis might work and the mere thought that you have taken the medicine will relax you.

- When you calm your nerves, do not forget about your body. During bouts of fear you body becomes tense, your muscles are constrained, your feet feel rubbery, and your face is concentrated. It is very difficult to get distracted when you are tense. Take a deep breath and start breathing slowly, get rid of all objects restricting your movement. Loosen a tight belt, unbutton the top button on a narrow collar, and take off your watch.

You should be as comfortable as possible during the flight.

If you experience nausea and dizziness, turn on a fan with cool air and ask the flight attendant for water with lemon.

- If you can, try to shift your attention to something interesting and not connected to flying. You can use a thrilling book, your favorite music, interesting crossword or anything that can take you mind off the flight. If you are unable to distract yourself, start counting to 100 and over. If this method helps some people to fall asleep, it may help in distracting your mind from fears.

- In moments of panic, remember that pilots are human beings and want to live as much as you do. They will do everything in their power to keep you safe. It is just a flight, one of many. There are no reasons to panic. You have an exciting vacation ahead that will erase all unpleasant memories of the flight.

Liliana Lokatskaya

Read the original in Russian

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov