Fear of Flying Warning Signs
Fear of flying is not just about flying, it could also be about some part of the flying experience that is unrelated to airplanes, but closely related to one or more situations that may make you stressful or anxious. Not all of these symptoms below look like they could be due to fears or anxieties around flying. However, the act of flying may make it difficult or impossible to avoid having to face these stressful situations. For example, if you have a fear of enclosed spaces and get dizzy when you are in an elevator, you can always get out at the next stop. In an airplane, that next stop may be hours away, and the amount of stress that builds up over that time can be tremendous. Whether you are a veteran passenger, or if you have never flown before, the following list may help you identify whether you have a fear of flying problem.
You May Have a Fear of Flying If:
- You don't like being in enclosed or crowded spaces.
- You don't like being around strangers.
- You would rather be in control of a situation, and you don't like to be dependent on technology or on other people to protect you.
- You like your personal freedom and don't like it when people tell you what to do, or what not to do.
- You have a fear of heights.
- You have a fear of being over water.
- Flying, or even the thought of flying, makes you tense, or leads to headaches, nausea, fatigue, or other physical discomfort.
- You have a fear of the dark or a fear of being out at night
- You don't like invasions of privacy, especially when it comes potential searches of your belongings or physical searches of your body.
- You are very concerned about the risks of death or injury from aircraft accidents or from hijackings or other deliberate attacks on an aircraft.
- You don't like being idle for long periods of time.
- You experience sudden or prolonged panic attacks when you fly or when you are about to get on an airplane.
- You arrange your life to limit the amount of flying that you do, or you avoid flying altogether.
- You become easily angered by others when you fly.
- The sounds and activities associated with a normal flight bother you.
- You are concerned about turbulence and other weather conditions.
- You are afraid of the unknown.
When you have to face these fears and anxieties over a long period of time, for example, during a flight, or even during the weeks leading up to the flight, your reactions may include actions such as self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, or other actions that are related to the stress of flying. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it may be worth your while to do some personal research on the subject. The resources below may be a good start.
Dealing with your fear of flying
Many people who have trouble with flying have tried "everything" on their own, tried therapy, tried medication, or even tried one or more fear of flying programs. They still have hope but they are very doubtful that anything will work. That doubt may be erased with a better approach. One of the approaches that has been used by thousands of anxious flyers is the SOAR program, which was created by airline captain and licensed therapist Captain Tom Bunn.
Captain Bunn has been directly involved with understanding and treating flying related anxieties since 1980 when he became part of the first fear of flying program run by a major US airline. Two years later in 1982, Captain Bunn founded SOAR to help passengers overcome their fear of flying by helping them to understand their anxieties, and more importantly how to overcome them. For more on the SOAR program, and for other information about fear of flying, please visit SOAR.
http://airsafe.com/issues/fear/signs.htm -- Revised 16 April 2012