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What is DRIVING PHOBIA? What does DRIVING PHOBIA mean? DRIVING PHOBIA meaning – DRIVING PHOBIA definition – DRIVING PHOBIA explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
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Driving phobia, also called vehophobia or a fear of driving, can be severe enough to be considered an intense, persistent fear or phobia. It is often great enough that people will avoid driving at all costs, and instead find someone to drive them or use public transportation, regardless of how inconvenient or expensive.
A fear of driving may escalate to a phobia during difficult driving situations, such as freeway driving or congested traffic.
People with a fear of driving may experience trembling, sweating, accelerated pulse, loss of sense of reality, and thoughts of losing control while driving, even in situations that are reasonably safe. This fear will cause many to avoid driving, create excuses to not drive, or even refuse to get a driver’s license for years.
Those with associated post-traumatic stress disorder may experience intrusive thoughts or dreams of the original accident—both when driving and not—lack of emotional responsiveness and irritability.
There are three major categories of driving phobia, distinguished by their onset.
The first and most common cause of a fear of driving is traffic accidents. These situations cause PTSD driving phobia, where the fear develops in response to a traumatic event. Usually, situations like these trigger a fear of driving in only specific situations related to the original cause, though it also can trigger a fear of driving entirely.
The second most common form is driving phobia as a specific phobia. Because driving does involve some danger and the possibility of a collision, there does exist some fear or caution in many rational people. However, for some the fear of crashing, losing control over the car, being criticized or being in a dangerous situation will cause panic. It is classified as a phobia when the anxiety does not rationally reflect the amount of danger.
The least common category is an extension of agoraphobia, the anxiety of having a panic attack while being in crowds or public places. One manifestation of agoraphobia is the inability to travel long distances away from home. When driving, an agoraphobe may feel that he is putting himself into a fearful situation, and driving phobia may develop.
The most common treatment for serious cases is behavior therapy—specifically, systematic desensitization.
Several other self-help treatments exist, mainly involving exposure therapy and relaxation techniques while driving. Additional driving training and practice with a certified teacher also help many to become more confident and less likely to suffer from anxiety.
One of the emerging methods of treating this fear is through the use of virtual therapy.
With repeated exposure, all of the subjects displayed significantly less variance from normal in heart rate acceleration, depression readings, subjective distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder ratings.