Chronic anxiety is caused, at least in part, by thoughts. Anxious thoughts. Our thoughts are the way we tell ourselves what’s “true” about the world. If you suffer from driving anxiety disorder, chances are you believe some things about driving that simply aren’t true, and you probably have a bad habit of reinforcing these “truths” via negative self-talk that’s always expecting the worst to happen. You’re likely afraid of some aspect of driving without really knowing why you fear it. That’s a good indicator you’re suffering from irrational, distorted thinking.
Being afraid of something (even something irrational) is not in and of itself a phobia. A phobia is formed when we anticipate danger and begin to avoid places and situations we associate with that danger. So a phobia is irrational fear PLUS habitual avoidance.The 2 Main Ways Phobias Develop.Phobias tend to either develop gradually with no definable cause, or suddenly as a response to a traumatic event.In the case of driving phobia, some sufferers report their fear came on gradually, steadily becoming worse over time. This type of phobia usually has no apparent cause and is often a simple misfire between the brain and the feelings / nervous system. Driving somehow becomes associated with danger, even though nothing dangerous actually happened.Some people develop driving phobia as a direct response to trauma; things like car accidents, bodily injury, injury to other drivers, property damage etc. It’s more obvious why the person associates driving with danger in these cases.
Tell yourself.I trust that life supports me. I am safe. The truth is, you are safe. Driving is an everyday activity that untold millions engage in without incident. The thing that makes you feel anxious is the belief you’re in danger. You’re really, really not.I am solutions oriented. Driving anxiety disorder is solvable. One of the main reasons people become more and more afraid of driving is because they see it as an intractable problem with no real solution. This is false. This disorder is very treatable – IF you’re willing to change your belief that it’s not. That’s the starting point for all therapies: the belief that change really is possible. I take charge of my emotions, my desires and my abilities. You’ve gotten in the habit of letting fear take charge of you instead of the other way around. I know the fear feels big and unmanageable. That’s perfectly OK. It’s still just a feeling, YOUR feeling. It’s a feeling that belongs to you. You don’t belong to it.I’m confident. I know I will solve my problems successfully. Confidence is simply the belief you can do something. The more you believe you can do it, the more likely you are to do just that. Confidence starts with belief. Beliefs are just thoughts, and affirmations are an effective way to start changing them.
I live in the present moment and I’m confident of the future. All anxiety disorders, including fear of driving, are about what “might happen” in the future. The reality is, whatever you’re afraid of ISN’T happening right now. In this moment, right now, you’re OK. What you’re really afraid of is that you won’t be OK in the near future. Take your focus off the future and put it back in the present where it belongs. The future is just the present that hasn’t happened yet, and it’s going to be fine.I face difficult situations with courage and conviction. I always find a way out of such situations. There’s no doubt that facing driving anxiety requires a great deal of courage. Something else that’s not in doubt is that you’ve faced difficult situations before and gotten through them. There’s lots of evidence in your life that you’ve somehow found your way through hard things. I mean, you’ve gotten this far, right? You’ll work through your fear of driving too.Today, I’m willing to fail in order to succeed. This may sound strange, but failure is not something to be feared, but accepted as an inevitable part of learning new behavior. You can pretty much count on it. You’re going to have to get comfortable with (or at least tolerate) failure in order to eventually succeed. You simply cannot learn to do something new and difficult without doing it wrong sometimes. Just remember that the only real failure is choosing to do nothing.
If you like driving when other people aren’t around and hate it when they are, don’t automatically assume you have driving phobia. You may actually feel very comfortable driving – as long as nobody’s watching you do it. You may need treatment for social anxiety instead of driving phobia. Accurately assessing your real problem will lead to better treatment outcomes and a stronger, more confident you. Make sure you’re getting the kind of help you really need.Many people who suffer from panic disorder and general anxiety may also suffer from driving anxiety.
Driving anxiety is an example of a specific anxiety disorder. A specific anxiety disorder is one in which an individual may not feel anxious in general, such as generalized anxiety disorder, but will become anxious and panic in specific situations. Many times, people with a specific anxiety disorder will feel anxious effects when socializing with others, but this does not hold true for all cases. In other situations, such as driving your car, people are still able to experience severe anxiety based on their surroundings.
The initial stage to overcome driving phobia is to identify the source of the fear. To know the cause of the fear will offer significant clues to assist you in selecting a method to overcome it. Different fears – and even different people – react more readily to some types of help than others, so it’s worth experimenting. After you have identified the cause of the fear, then you can choose a treatment option which can possibly help and start your recovery.
One option, of course, is to just avoid freeways altogether. But what if you live in a densely populated area? Many people live in places where freeway driving is a fact of life. Some have reported driving an extra 2 hours a day to avoid them, but this is not a viable solution for most people.So what can you do to overcome or reduce your fear of driving on freeways? Are there viable options out there? 5 Effective Treatment Options Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Generally considered the most effective for phobia, CBT helps you identify factors which contribute to your anxiety. It shows how your thoughts contribute to the problem, and how to change destructive thinking. It also helps reduce or stop unwanted, anxious behavior patterns.
Driver Training / Coaching. Perhaps your fear is due to feeling that you lack good driving skills. Whether you need to learn how to drive, or just want to brush up your abilities, a good defensive driving course can make you more confident behind the wheel. Hypnotherapy. Common misconceptions about hypnosis are that you’re under someone’s “spell” and might be manipulated. This is mostly due to stage hypnosis that’s used for entertainment. A qualified hypnotherapist treats anxiety by inducing a relaxed state where you learn to change your internal reactions to fear triggers.This also helps you control the physical reactions of anxiety like dizziness and hyperventilation by stimulating the parasympathetic response – your body’s built in stress reduction mechanism.
Hypnosis is another helpful alternative to people having a typically milder fear such as general anxiety. Hypnosis can be conducted by a hypnotist or specialized therapist or sometimes it may be self-induced by use of audio recordings. The hypnosis should train your mind to respond to the experience to drive with tranquil confidence rather than panic and anxiety.If the driving phobia is more severe, possibly resulting from a traumatic incident like serious crash, the best choice can be to go for professional counseling and therapy. Jointly working with a professional, you can slowly overcome your fears in a secure environment. Techniques may be used that develop exposure to drive on a controlled road until you are in a position to perform the task without fear. Group therapy may also be helpful since you know that you are not alone. In the group set up, guidelines and techniques are usually shared concerning methods of overcoming the problem. Sometimes medication is prescribed to alleviate anxiety as another option to deal with driving phobia.