People are afraid to fly – how to defeat aerophobia

In about 40 out of 100 people, the thought of flight does not cause positive emotions. In about 40 out of 100 people the thought of the upcoming flight does not cause positive emotions. Someone is quietly worried, hiding their fear from others, someone tormented by doubts about the increasing number of cases of terror, can not come aboard the plane, and someone does not even cross the threshold of the airport. Symptoms of a terrible disease can begin long before air travel, but, slowly and monotonically developing, they reach their peak, forcing its bearer to fall into hysterics. Subjects of air travel (aerophobia) suffer from physical or moral discomfort to varying degrees, in other words, from ill health to panic attacks. People who are afraid of heights are much worse: all they have to do is think about flying – and the goosebumps will immediately cover their bodies from head to toe.

Aviaphobia is a difficult disease to heal, so it has little to do with it. People have to give up long trips, internships or business trips. It also provokes family and social problems. Colleagues will be happy to tell a couple of stories from their personal experience of terrible flights and their turbulent neighbours in order to hurt aviophobia. A spouse may not understand why they should spend 8 days shaking on a train if they can reach their destination in 11 hours. So, you have to try to overcome your fear – fear of flying. But it’s not as easy as it looks. The only people who should be afraid for life in flight are those with heart disease. When flying, an airplane can climb up to 14,000 meters, and in order to prevent the plane from tearing up from the inside, the pressure drops inside it, when landing it is raised again to the atmospheric – that’s why it lays its ears on climbing and lowering. People’s blood pressure changes as a result of these pressure surges. And if the cardiovascular system is weak, it will lead to a violation of the usual work of the body – in addition to the deterioration of health, bleeding and other severe consequences can cause a heart attack.

The phobia of healthy people has no basis. Because the reasons why a phobia is formed are most often far-fetched. The most common of them is the information we have accumulated over the years, from reports of a plane crash on the radio to detailed stories on TV with a list of victims. The human brain is organized in such a way that, having once received negative emotions, it stores them for a long time. When people see or hear something, their brain immediately begins to carry out associations in the head exactly with that negative impression, stored in our memory for many years. Thus, for many passengers, turbulence provokes an attack of fear only because of the certainty that the vibration of the plane is caused by a deviation from the course or an impending disaster. At such moments, to calm down, it is enough to look at the water in a glass – its vibrations correspond to the shaking of the plane, and the oncoming air currents have not yet prevented any aircraft. It is better to ask for a place closer to the cockpit at check-in – there the turbulence affects much less than in the tail. Surprisingly, panic is more characteristic of self-sufficient and intelligent individuals. Their independence, self-confidence do not allow to accept the idea that someone controls the aircraft mahina and is responsible for their lives only because the knowledge of those in the field of aviation is a little higher. Successful people find it difficult to entrust their lives to pilots, crews, engineers and dispatchers. They are used to taking responsibility for themselves.

Those suffering from claustrophobia have only to feel sorry for themselves. If, traveling by train or bus, you can get off at the next stop, breathe in full chest, calm down and continue on the way, then in the plane willy-nilly a man is locked in a small capsule among 100 people like him. There’s no change of scenery and no distraction by opening a window. Some inquisitive people who are going to fly for the first time, consider it necessary to study a couple of dozen books and review hundreds of programs about the arrangement of the plane. Then in their consciousness a certain scheme and structure of the flight is formed, and when any sounds, unfamiliar or unusual, starts to manifest aerophobia. It is worth mentioning caring parents and couples in love. Being responsible for someone, people can not but worry and exaggerate the magnitude of the danger. One of my good acquaintances stopped flying after her boyfriend died in a plane crash near Donetsk (in August 2006, TU-154, which made the flight Anapa – St. Petersburg, crashed on the territory of Ukraine). Some people can’t stay in the hermetically sealed plane for fear of closed space, while others, having seen terrible TV programs about terrorism and plane crashes, decided that the closer to the ground, the safer it is. According to statistics, one in eight Americans stopped flying at all after the 9/11 disaster. It’s hard to believe, but 35% of former pilots also suffer from aviation phobia. If a child’s fear or transported emotions have got on fertile ground (consciousness located to the disease), the chance of forming a phobia is 100%. We are all going to die! Those who still dared to fly, have to fight with the coming phobia in different ways. In February, on the flight Sharm el-Sheikh – Moscow, I observed several people with a clear expression of tension in their faces.

My roommate, a girl in her fifteens, was squeezing two “emergency pills” in her hand. Nervously turning over the pages of the youth glossy, she unsuccessfully tried to distract and relax, assuring me that the phobia passed on to her by inheritance. The mother sitting next to her did not deny it: “We fasten our seatbelts as tightly as possible so that after the disaster our bodies will remain in the chairs – so they will be easier to identify.” With such words, even the calmest passenger began to shake with fear, drawing in his imagination this terrible scene. The man sitting in the next row made the whole cabin squeal: he squealed so much when the plane hit the turbulence zone that all the passengers were frightened. Calm down, the aviator with still tears in his eyes said that he was constantly chased by nightmares, and now he saw in his sleep how the plane is falling rapidly, and there is no chance of survival. For deep believers, the only way to overcome fear is through prayer. Recently, passengers who are picking up beads and wailing under their noses have begun to meet more and more often.

On flights from Russia, drunken people are being carried away, just like on the last subway train. People start drinking after passing passport control, continue on board – and at the beginning of the flight they fall senselessly on the shoulder of a neighbor. The way to fight against aerophobia, of course, is effective, but significantly undermines health – we have already written that the negative impact of alcohol in the air is much higher than on the ground. And many people prefer to stay home. For example, my former colleague has always refused to travel abroad or business trips. Even his wife and child could not persuade him to go on vacation. Despite his fear, he is a very smart and sociable person who does not think that travel is a necessity. “I have enough informative programmes and geographical magazines to know where the country is and what it is famous for. For those who board, there are many ways to distract themselves – by solving crossword puzzles or Sudoku, by music or movies on a small TV screen. If any hint of disaster can cause an attack of fear, it is not worth watching an introductory movie and instruction on how to use an oxygen mask, life jackets and inflate the ramp. No one has a chance to survive a fall from such a height, so this information is unlikely to be useful. And if we talk seriously, the probability of death on the way to the airport is 7 – 8 times higher than during the flight. Over the past year, 35,000 people – the population of a small town – became victims of car accidents in Russia. And buses, trolleybuses, trams, trains, metro – these types of transport have killed many thousands of lives. An airplane is indeed the safest way to travel.

The way aerophobes travel

It is hard to imagine the kind of manipulation that aerophobes did not do in order to get to the right city or country. If we are talking about Europe or those destinations that can be reached by train and bus, it is not difficult to travel. But both the Americas or Africa and Australia are hiding behind the water surface. But even the seas and oceans don’t stop real aerophobes. They are ready to take three trains to a Portuguese port to get to a liner where you can cross the ocean, and there are two other land transport modes to get to the right point. And in about two to three weeks, the target will be reached. Isn’t it too long and tiresome? Maybe we should fight ourselves and cure this evil disease. The principle of treatment of aerophobia You can do self-treatment, or it is better to seek help from professionals and get rid of hated aerophobia. The easiest treatment is a course. There aerophobists will be provided with all the necessary materials: books, CDs, various aids – and will monitor their progress weekly. Usually such programs include not only theoretical part and conversations with a psychologist, but also practical ones. It may consist of a visit to an airport, an air museum or even a test flight at a test pilots’ school.

The Internet is full of offers from various clinics and programs, all you have to do is choose. If there is no time for frequent group visits, you can treat yourself to a phobia. The main thing – to ask friends and family for help. Nothing, except their support before the flight, will not help to survive the impending psychological trauma. Then slowly and gradually begin to collect positive emotions, changing your attitude to air travel. The wedge is knocked out, so a couple of books or illustrated encyclopedias about planes and their device should be the initial stage. Colored pictures will tell you the most interesting things and will not cause any fear. You can buy computer games related to aircraft engineering. This is a great chance to try yourself as a pilot and fly with pleasure. TV programs about aircraft designers and their inventions can not leave indifferent even the most avid aviator. In addition, you can assemble the model of some aircraft, buying special kits in a children’s shop. Perhaps, having their freshly glued samples, fly to the real will not be so terrible? By the way, a great chance to cure the disease – a ride on a small plane or get your adrenaline dose on a real fighter. A huge number of commercial firms offer this service. You just have to make up your mind. Of course, like any other disease, aviophobia should be treated. And the more thorough it is, the less likely it is to resume.

Here are a few links that can help in the fight against aviation phobia: AirSafe com – there is all the necessary information about books and disks. Anxieties com – Ex-pilot and psychiatrist Pan Am has created a special kit to achieve a pleasant flight. It consists of 7 disks, 2 booklets and 14 auxiliary cards. Fearofflyinghelp com – An online program developed by the ex-pilot contains various photos, videos, audio files as well as a virtual tour and a bunch of illustrations for both adults and children. Fearless-flight com – The program includes a book with real stories and a list of things everyone needs on board, as well as a CD with relaxing music. Fofc com – Clinic site for people suffering from aviophobia. Its program offers educational therapy. Feartakesflight com – 4-step program based on preparation for the first independent flight in special school. – SOAR company that helps people to overcome their illness.

It offers individual counselling even over the phone. You should not be afraid of planes, on the ground is much more dangerous. We don’t stop going out and going to work after reports of failed streets, collapsing buildings, subway terrorist attacks or icicle killers. Take self-medication, have a sedative, and without losing your spirits, get on board. Make yourself comfortable, fasten your seatbelts and try to relax. Learn to enjoy every flight. If aviation is stronger than you, ensure your life for several million or make a will. And do not forget to confess before your flight – then the thought that your soul will go to heaven, brighten up the horror of premature death.