Amaxophobia, the irrational fear of driving
The number of customs and habits has become much more varied with the technological progress , and the same has happened with the repertoire of phobias.
The fear of driving or amaxophobia
As we saw in the article about strange phobias, today it is not uncommon to have a pathological fear of an infinity of elements, some of which occur only in fiction. The phobia of which we will speak today, however, is more related to daily life, but it does not stop being serious. It's about the amaxophobia or fear of driving.
What is amaxophobia?
To put it simply, it's about the fear of driving led to a pathological extreme , that is, it creates problems and difficulties and makes the quality of life of those who experience it worse.
The origin of the phobia can be found in past experiences related to the experimentation of driving but it is also possible that it occurs in people who have never been able to drive for the first time. That means that in the birth of the amaxophobia can be experienced experiences lived in the first person but also preconceived ideas or information given by third parties.
Why is it produced?
There are several psychological facets that explain the fear of driving.
- In the cognitive aspect tend to occur fatalistic thoughts in which a fatal accident is anticipated . These thoughts may consist of narrations captured in images that are repeated over and over again without much to be done to try to suppress them. There may also be present memories related to traffic accidents of which something has been previously known, statistics of deaths on the road, etc.
- At the emotional level, anxiety and stress experienced at specific moments are normal . These emotional states are no more than the tip of an iceberg that are part of hormonal and physiological processes such as sweating, pulse acceleration and muscle tension. Blurred vision or nausea may also appear.
- Regarding the material aspects that surround the amaxophobia are some rituals started before you start driving , the indefinite postponement of driving (although certain responsibilities push to take a vehicle of their own), driving at low speed, etc.
These three aspects feed on each other and perpetuate or even aggravate the degree of driving phobia, since they have a circular effect in which fear and stress do nothing but grow.
Of course, it is not uncommon to experience fear of the steering wheel of a vehicle, especially if you have little experience in it and a failure can put at risk your own life and that of others (a situation that occurs in virtually all types of ways) . However, amaxophobia is an irrational fear that can not be justified and, precisely for that reason, It is difficult to fight . In spite of this, that is not easy to treat does not mean that it is impossible to mitigate its effects drastically.
How is the fear of driving treated?
There are several fronts from which you can attack the phobia of driving from the cognitive-behavioral intervention .
In the first place it is good to inform about the nature of the amaxophobia, since this way the person who experiences it will be able to understand what is happening to him and will know what it implies and what does not imply being afraid to drive. However, this measure does not serve to produce an improvement by itself, since the phobia is not based on the rational. In any case, it serves to narrow the problem and know how to deal with it from that point.
It is good to train in self-instruction techniques to the person with amaxophobia. Following self-instructions implies following a kind of imaginary script to know what needs to be done and in what order. Thus it is easier to be clear at each moment what is the immediate objective in driving and the attention of anticipatory catastrophic thoughts shifts.
It is also essential to attack the emotional side of the phobia, and this can be done by following techniques to combat anxiety before and during driving. Especially important are those that directly involve the control of breathing, as this helps to have an adequate heart rate and prevents the brain from being overwhelmed by the circumstances.
Besides all this, it is usual to fight it through the progressive exposure to the source of fear . This implies making small approaches to driving, setting increasingly ambitious objectives. It usually begins with someone's company, but in the later stages the person must be able to face driving without any company. It is usually in the exposure to the phobic source where the results are seen, and this can act in favor of the motivation of the person.
Not everything is white or black
As in all phobias, in amaxophobia there are different degrees of severity . That means that for some people it can be a lot of nerves during high-speed driving on motorways or motorways, while in other cases it can be scary just to start the engine.
The key point is to know how to identify the magnitude of this phobia in each specific case and adapt the strategies to combat it depending on it.