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Driving Anxiety – A Form of Agoraphobia?

January 17, 2012

Driving anxiety usually occurs in people that have suffered a traumatic experience while driving, such as being involved in a car accident. In such patients, the most important treatment is therapy. Even special devices have been invented for such patients that can help one to create a realistic representation of driving in order to practice learned coping mechanisms in a safe environment.

Driving anxiety is really a form of agoraphobia, which is a very common experience for people who suffer from generalized anxiety or panic attacks. Agoraphobia is basically the fear of experiencing a panic attack while in a setting that offers no easy way of escaping. A very common example is experiencing panic attacks on airplanes due to the simple fact that one is scared they may have a panic attack on an air plane. It is true that fear is often the catalyst of fear – actually incorporating this knowledge into a tool that can help you actually diffuse a panic attack is a much harder process.

Agoraphobia is a harsh and unpleasant disorder (I know, I have suffered from it – I was terrified of airplanes for fear of having a panic attack!). The way agoraphobia is usually brought on is through experiencing a panic attack in a certain setting (such as a supermarket, airplane or a bathroom). Your mind may then associate that particular setting with the place that you have panic attacks. In doing this, whenever you go to the same place (or for some people, even think about that place) you are likely to bring on another panic attack. Again, this is Fear building Fear.

Driving anxiety is very similar in this regard. If you have had a traumatic experience in a car such as an accident or the onset of a panic attack, your mind may uncontrollably associate being in a car (or actually driving a car) with panic attacks. Driving a car can trigger a particularly powerful agoraphobic response as it is inherently a dangerous activity. The fear that you may lose control during a panic attack can make this sensation, and thus the likelihood of another panic attack occurring, much greater.

I am a panic attack survivor. I have not only experienced possibly the worst physical manifestations of panic possible, I have learned all I can about this complex disorder – and I have beaten it. If you are serious about getting your life back, you owe it to yourself to check out this site.

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