Overcoming Aerophobia

Aerophobia, or the fear of flying, is one of the most common phobias. In the United States alone, it affects more than 25 million adults. It can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, and it can make it difficult to travel.

Many people are nervous when flying, but for a much smaller population, the fear is so severe that it meets the criteria for a phobia diagnosis. Even if someone does not have a phobia when it comes to flying, their worries can still severely affect their life.

In this blog post, we will discuss what aerophobia is, how it can be treated, and how people can help overcome their fear of flying using virtual reality technology.

Causes of fear of flying

There are many reasons why someone would develop aerophobia, but the most common ones are:

  • Negative experience while flying
  • Fear of death or injury
  • Claustrophobia- fear of small enclosed spaces
  • Anxiety about heights
  • Lack of control or lack of understanding of the flying process
  • Media portrayal of flying as dangerous

Symptoms of fear of flying 

The fear of flying is a genuine phobia that can prevent people from traveling- even on short domestic flights.

Physical symptoms of aerophobia can include a feeling of panic, shortness of breath, a racing heart, nausea, and dizziness. For some people, simply the thought of getting on a plane can be enough to cause these symptoms.

These physical symptoms can be very harmful to mental health and wellbeing. They can cause a person to feel anxious and panicked, leading to a feeling of helplessness. This can be very damaging to a person’s mental health and can cause them to avoid and reject travel opportunities that could otherwise benefit them- such as travel for a job.

How to overcome flying anxiety

The fear of flying, or aerophobia, can be treated in various ways. Some people may benefit from therapy or medication, while others may find that exposure therapy is the best solution for them. There are also several self-help techniques that can be used to overcome the fear of flying.

One of the most common ways to treat aerophobia is Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy focusing on the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors causing problems.

CBT for fear of flying typically involves exposure therapy, which is a type of treatment that gradually exposes the person to their fear in a safe and controlled environment. Exposure therapy aims to help the person feel less anxious and more comfortable around their fear.

Exposure therapy can be done in many ways, but an increasingly popular method is virtual reality exposure therapy. This type of exposure therapy uses computer-generated images to expose the person to their fear.

Virtual Reality for fear of flying

Virtual reality technology has come a long way in recent years. It can create realistic scenarios of flying environments that allow people to experience what it’s like to fly without actually getting on a plane. This can help people confront their fears and understand that they are not in danger while on an airplane. In addition, scientific research supports VR therapy for aerophobia.

Amelia VR offers a tool for mental health practitioners to complement traditional therapy for their patients.  The VR environments are totally immersive and allow the practitioner to control the parameters, going at the patient’s own pace. If you would like more information about our VR environments and how they can be useful to your practice, contact us for a free demo.

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