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Aerophobia and Post-Traumatic Stress

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 19 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder; Previous

Aerophobia And Post-Traumatic Stress

For many people suffering from aerophobia, the phobia itself may have manifested following a previous bad experience. For anyone who has had a negative incident whilst flying or being in the airport or anywhere else concerning flight travel, this can cause a deep rooted fear to develop even though the likelihood of another bad experience is small.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress?

Post-traumatic stress is a term given when a person has reacted badly to a negative experience.This experience usually involves the individual feeling a loss of control, being in danger, feeling helpless or seeing something bad happen to those around them. These experiences are often borne from war, terrorism, assault, rape, kidnap or an accident.

Many people simply learn to cope and reflect upon these types of incidences, but for some, they cannot find a coping mechanism for these emotions and memories and develop a terrible fear or reaction to them.In the incidence of a previous bad experience on a flight, whether it may be because of terrorism, and accident or even having to land early, the fear of it occurring again can cause a phobia to develop and prevent the person from wanting or being able to travel by air again, even if they were previously a seasoned traveller.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may not become apparent straight after the incident; they may not arise until up to 6 months after the incident. These symptoms can affect the person both mentally and physically.Depression and anxiety are typical symptoms and the individual may isolate themselves, particularly from those people or places that remind them of the event.

The person may be unable to be comfortable having spare time and may fill it with tasks that keeps their brain busy therefore not allowing them to think about the incident.Nightmares and flashbacks are common and can be extremely upsetting for the individual but those around them also.

Treatments For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

There are a variety of treatments recommended especially for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and can be any of or a combination of medications, cognitive behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation and group therapies.

New research is being carried out at present into a new form of treatment called virtual reality exposure therapy, whereby, the individual is exposed to a very similar experience through virtual reality technology and has to relive it without the fear that they could be in actual danger. This treatment is currently only available to military personal, but results have so far proved to be very positive.

It is unlikely that this treatment will become available to all individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as the amount of scenarios that may have caused the problem is inexhaustible and it would be impossible to formulate a programme tailored to everyone’s personal experience.

Specialists believe that by allowing the mind to remember the event and visualise it again whilst in a safe environment, our brain can process the information and allow us to move on from it.

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects people in different ways and can prevent the person from assuming normal activities in the future. For those who have developed their fear of flying because of a past experience, it is essential that treatment is sought and the event reflected upon logically in order to help the person manage the stress and trauma caused.

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Hi, I wanted to share my most recent experience flying.I had not flown for 8 years and I was so terrified I would end up in tears for months before my flight just thinking about being in the airplane, unable to leave if I wanted to.My fear was more about being in closed space, a situation I could not get out of if I wanted to or if I began to panic.I am prone to panic attacks and have been for years.I was so afraid that I was going to have a panic attack on the plane and I would ruin the family vacation for everyone.I was fearful that I would lose control and not be able to regain my calm.However, I was determined to go on this family trip.I had put off flying for far too long.I wanted to share what worked for me with the hope that it may help someone else. Here are somethings I did before my flight. First, I prayed - I really got closer to my higher power.I prayed for the inner strength to keep positive and in control no matter what.I also tried very hard to put out of my mind the negative thoughts about what could happen. It is not easy, but it does help to remain positive.Also, I looked a so many online Youtube videos.Truthfully, as much as I thought they would help - they actually left me more nervous about the flight. But looking back, maybe they did help somewhat. Also, I was honest with the few people in my life who I trusted and who I knew would not judge me for my fear.I cried to them and they have me so much encouragement it really did help.So, reading positive blogs and talking about your fears is really helpful. I wish I didn't have to, but I did take my medication (klonopin) and had a drink on the way to the airport - and again on the flight. This relaxed me and combined with my determination I actually enjoyed the flight! I got nervous for a brief time only when the doors closed and we had not taken off.But I quickly adjusted to my situation and kept my mind positive and busy with reading and writing during the flight.On the flight home I was not even able to sit with my children or husband as we were late for our flight!I would never have imagined that I would have been fine in the situation but I was!I honestly believe that the only way to get to the other side of a situation you have to move through it.If you are reading this and are afraid to fly - I feel for you more than you know.But don't give up and avoid flying!You CAN do it!Something to consider: as you prepare for take off start writing about how you feel. Just writing kept my mind busy and my focus positive. Bring somethings to do to keep you busy. I brought so many things to do that I did not even get to them all!Crosswords, DVD's, a book, and my laptop to name a few.One of my fears was being contained in a closed space.Remember, you can get up and walk if you need to! You do have fresh air on the flight and you are not alone.So many people have this fear - it is common.Keep in mind how good you will feel once yo
Krista - 4-May-12 @ 11:18 PM
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