What is Aerophobia ?

The term Aerophobia can be used to describe both a fear of flying or an abnormal fear of drafts of air, gases, or airborne matter. The most commonly used expression of the term refers to those whom are phobic of flying. It is a fairly common type of phobia affecting women slightly more than men, and is estimated to affect as many as one in three people.

Aerophobia is often associated with other fears and phobias. In such cases, the individuals experience greater forms of anxiety. For example, the fear of flying is often linked to the fear of confined spaces or claustrophobia. The individual dislikes the closed and cramped spaces in the aircraft and may get the feeling of being trapped and unable to escape.

The fear of heights or acrophobia is also linked with the fear of flying. Those who have fears of the poor circulating air on the plane, will also have issues with germs, causing greater anxiety on board as well.

This phobia receives more attention than most other phobias because air travel is often difficult for people to avoid.

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Symptoms of Aerophobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

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Causes of Aerophobia

Aerophobia is mostly linked to a traumatic past event or events and internal predispositions. The event(s) may have happened to yourself or friend/family member in the past.

Aerophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

Aerophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

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Treatments for Aerophobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

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