With all the controversy over the new airport body scans and the thorough pat downs, those who are already seat-grippers in the air have a new reason to dread flying–invasive body searches and embarrassing images taken of their bodies.

Statistics show that the majority of people who have significant flying fears are women over the age of 25. Flying phobias are so common that an enormous industry has been built on the treatment of this fear! (Just Google “flying phobia”).

C.R. has a fear of flying but never really talked about it until a friend of hers took a train across the U.S. for a vacation. When they were talking her friend revealed the reason was because her own fear of flying was so great she couldn’t get near a plane! This same friend has driven from N.Y. to Florida for the same reasons. C.R. herself has avoided flying whenever possible.

While discussing the new airport body scan with some friends, she was surprised to discover that over half of her friends were afraid to fly–and that despite the hype, the vast majority of treatments they tried didn’t work.

Though incidents and accidents and other traumatic events in the air can cause a fear of flying, many other phobias can combine to cause this fear or phobia. Fear of accident and death, fear of closed spaces, fear of heights, fear of not being in control, fear of having panic attacks in public, fear of terrorism, fear of turbulence, fear of flying over water or flying at night, and so on can contribute to the actual fear of flying.

Even though it is one of the most common phobias, it isn’t so easy to treat. We know a bunch of folks who’ve tried hypnosis, EMDR, various types of psychotherapy–even aromatherapy! Those people we know personally who have had success have been treated with systematic desensitization which, step by step, exposes people to the source of their fears. They still are nervous fliers, but the fear isn’t as overwhelming.

Does a fear of flying have an impact on your life?



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    Last reviewed: 14 Aug 2012

APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2010). Fear of Flying Poll: Frustrating and Scary. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapy-soup/2010/11/fear-of-flying-poll-frustrating-and-scary/


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