The fear of driving or driving anxiety can strike at the most inconvenient times, such as during a long commute on a congested highway. Disorientation or even terror can result from a sudden surge of fear. Therefore, counseling for fear of driving is a practical first step for anyone who wishes to become more functional while recovering from the condition.
Know that you’re not the only one who feels this way. There are various treatment options and self-care tips that can help you regain control of your life, including working with a fear of driving therapist.
What is Driving Anxiety?
Americans affected by the condition number in the millions. Driving anxiety is a common phobia among Americans. However, the number of people who suffer from going anxiety is difficult to estimate because few people seek treatment for it, according to available data.
Driving anxiety, also known as motorphobia, ochlophobia, or amaxophobia, is a distressing experience that leads to avoidance behaviors such as having someone else drive for you or avoiding situations that make you uncomfortable.
Driving anxiety is not a recognized medical condition, despite many symptoms being like those of trauma and anxiety (at least, according to the DM-5). However, suppose your symptoms are severe enough to interfere with major aspects of your life. In that case, a doctor may diagnose you with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Driving anxiety can be brought on by a variety of factors, including:
· People you know who’ve had car accidents in the past
· The experience of being lost in traffic or watching a bad car accident on television
· An apprehension about your driving abilities
Panic and fear are the most common signs, especially when these feelings persist and are unreasonable. Below are other signs that a person may have motorphobia or driving anxiety:
· Sweaty palms and a strong desire to get out of the vehicle
· Dizziness and shortness of breath
· Heart pounding
· Rapid or ragged breathing
Driving Anxiety Treatment Options
The goal of counseling for fear of driving is to raise the person’s quality of life and make them less prone to experiencing the signs of driving anxiety or driving phobia.
For specific phobias, psychotherapy serves as the foundation of treatment. Exposure response prevention and systematic desensitization or exposure and response prevention are the most common forms of treatment. For example, the fear of driving therapist will gradually expose the patient to what frightens them until the initial, intense, and phobic/anxious response fades.
The use of short-acting sedative-hypnotics (benzodiazepines) like Ativan or Xanax can aid in reducing anticipatory anxiety. However, these will only help in quelling temporary anxiety. Therefore, long-term or daily medications are not commonly prescribed for phobias in the absence of other conditions, such as panic disorders or depression.
Occasionally, serotonergic antidepressants like Paxil, Prozac, or Lexapro may be helpful for some patients. In addition, beta-blockers, which are commonly available blood pressure medications, have recently been found to be effective in treating anxiety, too.
Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques may also help alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Focusing on the Benefits of Therapy for Driving Anxiety
To succeed, you don’t have to do this all by yourself. Individuals with anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy.
You may benefit from EMDR therapy if your driving anxiety results from a traumatic event like a past car accident or witnessing a car accident. This is an effective treatment method for those who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Another treatment option is exposure therapy. When you’re ready, you’ll begin to gradually expose yourself to the things that terrify you, one step at a time.
Knowing that it’s normal to feel apprehensive when confronting fear is crucial. The fact that you’re in the middle of “the work” isn’t a bad thing. Stick with it, and you’ll gain more self-assurance.
Those who suffer from driving anxiety may benefit from VR therapy. There are many driving video games and simulations to choose from these days. However, it would help if you didn’t attempt any of these methods on your own without the guidance of a mental health expert. They will assist you through the process and assist with managing your symptoms.
Mild to severe levels of anxiety while driving can be found. In some cases, self-care strategies may be beneficial.
When something frightens us, it’s easy to overlook the individual parts in favor of the whole. Make a list of the elements of driving that are most frightening to you, starting with the most intense and working your way down (or even enjoyable). The use of calming scents and removing distracting clutter from your vehicle may be beneficial. Lavender essential oil can help alleviate anxiety.
Even if you’ve never run, you can start training for the marathon. You could not run 26 miles the next day even if every fiber of your being wanted to.
Driving anxiety is no exception. Ambition is great, but if you set a goal of driving across the country tomorrow, you may end up harming yourself instead of doing good.
Think of this as a long-term endeavor. Be patient and set smaller, more manageable goals for yourself. Eventually, you’ll arrive at your destination of choice. If you need emotional support or a place to stop, having a companion in the car can benefit you. If you’re afraid to ask for help from loved ones, you might want to think about enrolling in a professional driving school.
Self-Care Is Essential
If you have been diagnosed with depression or GAD, your fear of driving therapist will likely recommend self-care methods. Meditation is a physical-mental practice that has been used for centuries to improve psychological and physical well-being.
Anxiety, stress, and depression may all be alleviated as a result. You can meditate on your own or with a group. Do 5 to 10 minutes first to see if you can stick with it. Take a few slow, deep breaths in through your nose and then exhale through your mouth while you sit quietly.
Even if you gave up journaling in junior high, trying to write down all the things can benefit you as an adult.
Anxiety can be relieved by writing about positive emotions in a journal. Writing about the good things in your life is a common theme in this journaling style. Journaling about pleasant events or experiences has been shown in studies to reduce psychological distress, anxiety, and stress.
Scientific evidence suggests that people who engage in regular physical activity have lower levels of anxiety and depression.
Endorphins are released during physical activity to alleviate anxiety. These are chemicals in the brain that help relieve pain. In addition to reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and enhancing sleep, exercise can also help alleviate the symptoms of stress.