What is Pteromerhanophobia?

Pteromerhanophobia is the irrational and persistent fear of flying. It is a fear of being on an airplane, helicopter, etc.; basically, in flight. It is also referred to as flying phobia, flight phobia, and Aviophobia and associated with Aerophobia (a fear of drafts).

This phobia may be a distinct phobia in itself, or it may be an indirect combination of one or more other disorders, such as Claustrophobia (fear of being enclosed in a small space or room) and Acrophobia (fear of heights). It may also be associated with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).

Because air travel is common, it affects a notable portion of the population.

Pteromerhanophobia is also known as Aviophobia or Aviatophobia.

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Symptoms of Pteromerhanophobia

  • 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 Pteromerhanophobia

Pteromerhanophobia 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.

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

Motion sickness and problems with balance can be physical triggers. Loss of control anxieties can also be triggers for travel whether by air or other means.

The fear of flying may be created by or closely associated with several other phobias and fears such as the following:

Fear of crashing, (injury or death)
Fear of closed in spaces (Claustrophobia), such as an aircraft cabin
Fear of heights (Acrophobia)
Feeling of losing control
Fear of motion sickness
Fear of having panic attacks in public (agoraphobia)
Fear of hijacking or terrorism

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Pteromerhanophobia

  • 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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