Each person has a specific fear or phobia. They are part of our life. When they interfere with our routine, they affect our quality of life. It is normal to feel a sense of fear and dread when something negative about that happened. Even so, you shouldn’t let it complicate your routine and, mostly, your mental health. Thankfully, there are specialized therapies designed to help people overcome these fears. Many people are anxious about driving or being passengers in a car. Having a certain reason or not, they get nervous when they are in normal situations that imply a car. With the help of this article, you can discover how to overcome the fear of driving and where you can find help.
What’s the fear of driving?
If you feel an emptiness in your stomach when getting in the car, you may suffer from a driving phobia. Most cases are related to a traumatic past experience that involved a car. Some are caused due to our lack of confidence in ourselves and in our skills. Whichever the cause is, you should not let these worries stop yourself and affect your wellbeing.
By definition, a driving phobia is an intense fear of driving or riding in a vehicle. There are also particular cases when a person feels panic only in a specific situation like driving over a bridge, through a tunnel, at night, or at high speed. Some people feel uncomfortable while driving, others simply being passengers in a car. One thing is clear, in all cases, this phobia manifets through a general sensation of fear and panic. Consequently, people who suffer from it risk to develop high anxiety about driving and tend to avoid situations that involve driving, being in a car, or surrounded by them.
Causes and symptoms
It can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common of them are:
- past experiences of car accidents
- getting lost while driving
- watching a car accident
- losing someone due to a car accident
- lack of trust in your driving skills
You know you have a driving phobia when you experience some specific symptoms. They are strongly related to symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder:
- panic and fear
- sweaty palms
- shortness of breath
- racing heartbeat
How to overcome the fear of driving?
Driving phobia is very dangerous as it can cause you severe anxiety. Nevertheless, the probability of having a panic attack while driving is very high.
The first step when you notice symptoms of driving phobia is to seek professional help. Like any other phobia, driving phobia requires specialized treatment from a therapist or a psychologist. After they establish a diagnosis, you can receive treatment. This usually involves psychotherapy, medication, or support groups. Psychotherapy is the first line to overcome driving anxiety. If this is not working, your therapist can recommend medication to help you control your anxiety. Support groups are also very effective in this case. They encourage people to get comfortable while driving and become more confident in themselves.
If you notice anxiety or panic while being in a car, make an immediate appointment with a mental health provider who has experience with treating phobias. It seems hard to escape from it, but effective treatment will offer you the freedom to drive safely and to gain more confidence in your abilities.
For more information about anxiety and its symptoms, we recommend you to read our article about what is anxiety and how you can fight it.
Also, to better overcome anxiety, read these motivational books for people with anxiety.