Why Some People Have A Crippling Fear Of Flying

Fear of flying, or aviophobia, is one of the most common phobias people have, with an estimated 2.5% to 6.5% of the population suffering with it. Far more people have a fear of flying that doesn’t reach phobia levels, even though people are flying more than ever before, and the fact that data shows flying is a reliably safe way to travel. Todd Farchione, the director of Boston University’s Intensive Treatment Program for Panic Disorder and Specific Phobias, says the fear tends to stem from lack of control. He says, “When the doors close, they’re in it. They’re stuck. They can’t get out of the situation. I think that’s often what’s most frightening for most people.” Fear of heights or crashes, or not understanding how flight works can also play a part in a person’s phobia. He says to get your fear under control you should do something to distract yourself– read a magazine, watch television, listen to music or talk to a travel companion. It could also be helpful to practice deep breathing techniques and consciously release muscle tension. If you have a severe phobia you may require professional treatment.