A Comprehensive Guide to Driving Phobia

Driving phobia develops when someone is so terrified of driving a vehicle (or even riding in one) that his or her fear begins to interfere with everyday activities and functioning. Things like driving to work or even driving to a location near to one’s home can become unduly stressful and frightening.

The onset of the disorder is often a traumatic auto accident like a car crash, especially one that could have potentially been fatal. Upon getting in to a car after such an event, many people are stricken with high levels of stress. The signs of their distress usually manifest themselves as physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea and rapid, gasping breathing. These symptoms can even occur while someone is already on the road, causing him or her to lose focus and possibly posing a real threat to the driver’s safety.

Things that remind the phobic person of a past negative experience on the road can also trigger symptoms of anxiety which may cause the driver to lose focus and have difficulty driving.

Driving phobia is treated similarly to other phobias: with some form of therapy and conditioning. A person who has developed a phobia has begun to associate the object of his or her fear with panic. He or she must learn how to control this fear and react calmly when faced with it. In other words, the phobic person must be “conditioned” to behave in a different manner.

By gradually being exposed to what they fear (a technique called “exposure”) by a trusted mental health professional in a safe and calming environment, people can be taught to feel less anxiety. Eventually, they are no longer filled with dread and panic when faced with a once-feared situation (such as driving).

For a very informative guide from a UK site on driving phobia, visit the following link.


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