Jun 15 2012
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Flying high is not a walk in the park for some
Friday, Jun 15, 2012
Seatbelt is buckled, tray table is folded away and the seat back is in the upright position. Everything is in check for take off - 11,000 metres above sea level the plane experiences turbulence and smoke comes out of the engine. Before realising it, the plane is heading towards Earth at full speed. Heart pounding, you struggle to put on the oxygen mask but before you know it the plane has crashed and burst into flames.
This scenario luckily never happens often but it is what goes through the minds of many people who suffer from aviophobia - the fear of flying.
So, where do these fears come from?
In her case, she has never had a traumatic experience that brought about her aviophobia.
Dr Naresh Dhar, a psychiatrist in Dubai, explained that in some cases fear builds up. He said: “The more the incident occurs, for example turbulence, the more the phobia increases. It could be a mild experience but once it happens frequently it builds up to form a phobia.”
Cully makes sure that she knows where the emergency exits are in every plane she enters. She then discusses a plan with her family on what to do in case an unfortunate event occurs.
However, it is not necessarily a personal experience that could trigger a phobia. The individual could associate to someone who had gone through a traumatic experience or perhaps seen it on television.
The most common cause of aviophobia, an associated phobia, combines two or more phobias to create a new one.
It is not necessarily that one is afraid of flying, but has a fear of closed spaces (claustrophobia) and a fear of heights (acrophobia).
Dhar said: “This is more common because people have different phobias and it is easier to connect those phobias and make up another one, as opposed to having a single bad experience that would trigger a specific phobia.”
But there are ways of treating the phobia and the best medicine is courage.
According to Dhar, cognitive behavioural therapy helps in conquering the phobia by rationalising the fear.
Dhar added: “They need to face their fear and when they come out of it unharmed then they will realise that there is nothing to be afraid of.”
By Mohammad Jihad Community Web Editor
© Gulf News 2012. All rights reserved.
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.
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