The pathological fear of flying is called Aviophobia. This term was coined during World War -II, when fear and anxiety were seen in aviators during combat. The fear of flying may either be a well-defined specific phobia or can be due to another anxiety disorder such as panic disorder with Agoraphobia, PTSD or Claustrophobia. People who are directly afraid of the flying experience have an anxiety fueled by the fear of crashing, losing control over themselves, getting panic attacks, experiencing turbulence or not having control over situations.
People who suffer from panic disorder with agoraphobia suffer from a more general fear of having uncued or unexpected panic attacks, and those with claustrophobia have a fear of feeling suffocated in a plane.
How Common Is Aviophobia?
If you are afraid of flying, you belong to 40% of the population, which means this phobia is quiet common. Some reports suggest that around 50% of the people have some sort of fear when they sit on a plane.
Symptoms of Aviophobia
- Rapid heart beat
- Stomach ache
- Shortness of breath
- Panic attacks
Cure For Aviophobia
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps people overcome their fears by teaching them to question their negative thoughts and emotions and encouraging them to see situations more realistically.
Pharmacological treatment such as medication is prescribed to treat symptoms such as anxiety and nausea. These drugs are taken before the flight:
- Anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax).
- Motion sickness medication, such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine).
Flying is certainly the safest mode of transport. You have probably heard how you are more likely to die on your way to the airport than in an air crash. According to a research in Harvard University, your odds of dying in a car accident is about 1 in 5000 however, the odds of dying in a fatal plane crash is 1 in 11,000,000. As a matter of fact, you are more likely to die due to a lightning strike with a chance of 1 in 13,000.
It is also a fact that most aviation incidents are not fatal. Planes lose altitude, slide off the runway and hit extreme turbulence without any injuries. Therefore, even if your plane ends up in an incident, there’s a very good chance that you will survive. Research done on past commercial flight incidents suggests that there is a 95% chance of survival.
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Edited by : Keerthana Suresh
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