As aviation enthusiasts, it may be a little hard to imagine that there are people who still suffer from aerophobia in this day and age.
Aviophobia, aerophobia, flight phobia– these are all terms that mean a fear of flying. And it’s more common than we think. A significant number suffer from this condition: as much as 40% of the US population. 2.5% of that number have what is classified as a clinical phobia – that is, aviophobia so extreme that people simply avoid flying.
What causes fear of flying?
In effect, the process of flying gathers together a whole variety of anxieties and fears. The crowded space that can trigger claustrophobia, the idea of being hijacked, the likelihood of catching bacteria and viruses, the anxiety of sitting next to strangers– these things and more may surface during a flight.
Other anxieties, such as fear of vomiting (emetophobia) and fear of heights (acrophobia) can also be associated with aviophobia.
And of course, there is the actual fear of flying itself. People with aviophobia can fear different aspects and stages of flying, such as takeoff, landing or turbulence.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, most people with aviophobia are not chiefly afraid of their plane crashing. The anticipation of flying, or even just thinking about being on a flight, can trigger panic and anxiety attacks.
Arrival at an airport, the bustling venue from which passengers fly, can be a draining experience in itself, so by the time people board their flights, the mind may already be under a lot of stress.
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