By Evelyn Masaba
Aerophobia, commonly known as the fear of flying, is when a person has a fear of being on aeroplanes and helicopters. To most people, being in aeroplanes conjures up so much terror that they might lash out in fear.
Studies show that aerophobia is more or less a symptom of other disorders such as claustrophobia, where someone is afraid of being in spaces they cannot escape from. The fear of flying is also associated with people that suffer from anxiety, especially when they are in situations they cannot easily control.
In some cases, aerophobia is caused by being involved in a prior flight accident, witnessing an aero accident, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, not being in control, fear of heights, and in others because they have never used air travel before.
You can know a person who has the phobia when;
- Panic attacks when you mention air travel
- Throwing up at the thought of being in air
- Shortness of breath when they get on the plane
- Unsettled especially when the plane takes off
- Usually attempts to leave the flight
In some cases, the distress an aerophobic person feels when the plane takes flight is so extreme that they have to be sedated or calmed by flight attendants.
There are some ways that aerophobia can be treated or that can help one get a hold of the fear.
Most people do not know how counseling and talking to a professional psychologist can help with some situations, but therapy is a vital step in finding a solution to a problem you cannot seem to get over. It is when you visit a therapist that you will help you identify why you have this issue and how you can deal with it and not be afraid of flying.
There is medication that is prescribed to people with disorders such as aerophobia to help them deal with it and not affect their da -to-day life. The medication is usually prescribed to you by a professional psychologist after a session. It is advisable for you to avoid buying any over-the-counter medications when it comes to disorders; always seek medical advice before purchasing.
Though not common or even practiced in Uganda, hypnotherapy is practiced all over the world to help people especially when it comes to anxiety and weight loss. Hypnotherapy helps you easily face some of the core issues that lead to aerophobia so that you can deal with them and come to a better place. Although not proven, it is one of the most recommended therapy ideas for people with disorders.
It is common knowledge that fear thrives on ignorance of the unknown, so why not decide to fight aerophobia with knowledge of what you don’t know about flying. Familiarise yourself with facts and statistics about air travel. Look up some of the successes of the airline you will be using and beat that anxiety with facts.
Focus on the positive
This can seem hard especially when you get a crippling bout of anxiety. However, when you stop looking at how many crashes you have heard about, or the hijackings happening around the world, you might just relax and enjoy your journey.
Every time you fly, take it as another opportunity to see the world and learn new things; quell fear with excitement about what is lying ahead. Yes, it is hard, but step by step your anxiety will slowly wane out.