Hypnosis for Fear of Driving
Driving safely and relaxed
Nowadays, most adult people are dependent on the car if they do not live directly in a city like Berlin. This applies to employees and self-employed people who use the car for professional reasons, parents who need to go shopping, drive their children to sports, or take care of their own parents. People who live in regions that are poorly served by local transport suffer particularly from the fear of driving. At the beginning of 2021, approximately 42.8 million issued driver's licenses existed in Germany. This accounts for more than half of the population, of which 13.75 million are minors. For many people it is impossible to imagine everyday life without a car. For people who suffer from a fear of driving, everyday life often becomes complicated and difficult. Learn in this article how hypnosis can help to take the fear of driving, so that you can drive again relaxed and safe - where so want.
Driving Anxiety Symptoms
How to recognize the fear of driving - Amaxophobia
Fear of driving, also called amaxophobia, is expressed in the fact that those affected are afraid of certain situations in road traffic. This can involve various situations, all of which can cause a great deal of suffering. The fear relates to everyday situations in road traffic. Already at the thought of a car ride, feelings of anxiety can appear. Thoughts and worries can relate specifically to a possible accident, the so-called accident anxiety, but they do not have to. Some sufferers imagine themselves in horror scenarios. Affected individuals fear they will lose control while driving, not be able to grasp a particular traffic situation quickly enough, not be able to park, drive too fast or too slow, or not be able to stop when they want to because of the road layout. The stress can show itself through insecurity and a diminishing self-confidence. People who have a fear of driving often feel helpless and unable to do anything about the situation. The fear of causing an accident can cause strong self-doubt and anxiety and be accompanied by physical symptoms such as goose bumps, tingling in the limbs or sweating. Out of fear, many often avoid the respective traffic situations such as driving on the highway, on federal highways, in tunnels, in unfamiliar areas or in certain weather conditions. If those affected try to face the situations, they may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, muscle cramps or even a panic attack. The symptoms in turn intensify the anxiety, leaving sufferers in a vicious cycle.
Fear of driving manifests itself in people through different symptoms and bodily reactions on a physical and psychological level:
Usually, driving anxiety manifests itself with physical symptoms such as palpitations, increased blood pressure, tension, cramping and also dizziness. The physical signs can also be goosebumps, as well as tingling in the limbs. Some sufferers also report sweating, sweating, trembling, muscle cramps and even a panic attack. People with driving anxiety experience the situations they fear individually. Their body reacts with feelings of anxiety, which can show up differently for everyone. Driving anxiety can escalate to panicattack
Psychologically, driving anxiety manifests itself through anxious thoughts about an upcoming car ride, as well as negative thought spirals and ruminations. These thoughts and worries may relate to a possible accident, but they don't have to. Some sufferers engage in horror thoughts of losing control while driving, not being able to grasp a particular traffic situation quickly enough, driving too fast or too slow, or not being able to stop because of the road layout. The distress may be manifested by insecurity and diminishing self-confidence. Affected persons often feel helpless and unable to change anything about the situation. Especially when they experience themselves as ineffective and depend on driving, depressive moods, depression
and exhaustion may be observed. Likewise, avoidance behavior can be observed in sufferers, while at the same time they condemn themselves for it.
Driving anxiety - the fear of driving a car
Driving a car means freedom for many people. Often despite years of driving experience, some individuals are afraid of making mistakes or causing an accident. Amaxophobia can be associated with severe limitations in life. Hypnosis can help to find the causes so that safe and relaxed driving is possible (again).
Driving anxiety self-test
Do I suffer from a fear of driving?
The following questions may be the first clues to whether you suffer from driving anxiety:
Do you feel uncomfortable when you get in the car?
When driving, experience any of the following symptoms: increase in heart rate and palpitations, sweating, trembling, and dry mouth.
Do you experience feelings of anxiety or restlessness even before a car ride?
Are there any traffic situations or routes that you consciously avoid?
Have you ever been in a car accident or narrowly escaped one?
Has a close relative ever been in a car accident or do you know someone who has been injured in one?
Have you ever left your car because of an uncomfortable feeling and walked the distance or used public transport, although the way by car would have been much less complicated and faster?
Is there anyone in your family environment with a fear of driving?
Has there ever been a situation in which your driving behavior was criticized?
Do you distrust your driving abilities? Do you not trust yourself to be able to act correctly in a dicey situation?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions and feel unsafe driving, you should seek medical or therapeutic advice. You may have a fear of driving, amaxophobia. Please note that questions are always asked broadly, so it is possible that people who are not affected by amaxophobia may also receive a positive result. Not everyone who gets excited while driving suffers from amaxophobia.
Driving anxiety facts
Fear of driving - technical term Amaxophobia
Amaxophobia can relate to the vehicle as such or to driving itself. A vehicle-related fear is expressed in the fact that those affected fear that they will lose control of the car and that it will act "autonomously". For example, that the brakes suddenly can no longer be applied or that the vehicle accelerates on its own. This variant is particularly significant in the age of mechanized vehicles. In a Saar Tatort, the fear of hacked cars driving into the abyss has already been played with. An increase in this phobia variant can probably be expected in the coming years or decades with regard to vehicles with the option of autonomous driving. The phobia with specific reference to one's own driving, on the other hand, is realized in the fact that the driver does not trust his own abilities. They mentally confront traffic situations with which they feel overwhelmed and fear that they will act incorrectly or too late in these situations. Both culminate in the affected person imagining an accident caused by the vehicle on his own authority or by himself or, in the case of passengers affected by the fear, by other drivers.
Women reportedly more likely to be affected by amaxophobia
According to studies conducted by Würzburg psychologist G. Alpers, among others, the cortisol level of anxiety patients, which is partly responsible for stress, is highest before driving. Alpers refers to driving anxiety as anticipatory anxiety. In other words, stress is highest before the actual feared activity. It is difficult to estimate how many people actually suffer from amaxophobia. There is no proper data collection on this yet. In addition, a high number of unreported cases is suspected. It is said that women are affected more often than men. The average age of amaxophobia patients is thought to be over 25 years. According to estimates of scientists at the University Hospital Münster and at the University of Würzburg, amaxophobia is supposed to be one of the most common phobias. This stands to reason, as the fear of driving is often part of another anxiety disorder such as agoraphobia
or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What people are afraid of when driving
Motorcyclists and cyclists
Road works on the highway
Driving in a large city
On unfamiliar and new routes
Acceleration lane, the entrance to the highway
Driving on the highway
Driving again after an accident
Driving an unfamiliar, new or larger car
Small side streets
This is what unsettles drivers the most
This is what unsettles drivers the most
Fears or uncomfortable feelings are not uncommon, according to the 2016 forsa survey "Road Safety" commissioned by CosmosDirekt. 9% of respondents said they were afraid when driving. There are many situations that can lead to anxiety at the wheel. In the survey, German drivers were asked what causes you discomfort when driving, and the following answers took the top three places:
Driving fear causes
How the Fear of Driving arises
The cause and trigger of a fear of driving are often difficult to understand for many people affected. There are assumptions about how fear of driving arises. It may be due to a bad experience that people have experienced or observed themselves. In many cases, however, people do not know why the fear of driving has arisen. Unconscious processes bring symptoms to the surface in fearful situations without being able to explain them logically or rationally. Repeated fears of driving can lead to avoidance behavior, which is why it is so important to seek professional help early on. Affected individuals experience themselves as helpless in their anxiety and have more and more negative experiences related to driving. Repeated experiences confirm and reinforce the fear of driving. In this process, the fear can have different manifestations and take on different forms. While one person feels fears when driving an unknown, new or larger car, another person feels fears when driving in small side streets, when parking or when driving on the highway.
Causes of Amaxophobia
According to surveys conducted in 2008, one-third of people who were seriously injured in a car accident developed post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD sufferers react strongly to situations that remind them of the accident. However, the accident does not necessarily have to have occurred. Even if sufferers narrowly escaped an accident, they may develop a fear of driving or another anxiety disorder, such as agoraphobia
. Agoraphobia refers to a fear of public places, as well as traveling and driving. Most of the agoraphobics also show fears of driving. Narrowly escaping an accident can trigger anxiety. A driver, even if he or she has done everything right, may suddenly become aware that it is not solely in his or her control whether or not the accident will occur. Fear that it will happen again is understandable after such a scare. The person affected also does not have to have been involved in the accident himself. It is possible that a close person has been the victim of an accident. A fear can also manifest itself in the fact that one's own parents are afraid of driving. Well-intentioned advice such as "Just take care of yourself" or mentioning the numbers of traffic fatalities can have an influence on the development of the phobia. Certain moments when driving errors were strongly, perhaps even loudly, criticized by the driving instructor or a co-driver, or sayings such as "Are you trying to kill us?" can also trigger insecurities that, together with other factors, later manifest themselves in a fear. There are cases where drivers develop anxiety when driving a certain route because they are using it to go to a specific destination. For example, if the visit to the in-laws has negative connotations, the subconscious may link the trip there via the highway with stress at the destination and block it internally. Suddenly, the driver develops anxiety about driving on the highway, even though he or she simply wants to avoid the visit that is stressing him or her out.
Driving anxiety consequences
What consequences can driving anxiety have?
Driving anxiety often leads to avoidance behavior and can reach a disease level. Life becomes more restricted, the radius of movement smaller and smaller. Even the thought of the next car trip can trigger feelings of anxiety. To prevent family members from perpetuating this cycle of anticipatory anxiety and avoidance behavior through their support, it is important to seek professional help early on.
In the long run, amaxophobics tend to limit driving more and more to avoid unwanted feelings. This may go as far as not using the car at all. It is also possible that the phobia spreads to other everyday situations that have nothing to do with driving. A fear of driving is not only developed by unsafe novice drivers or people who have already experienced an accident. Frequent drivers and professional drivers can also develop amaxophobia without any consciously apparent reason. In addition, passengers are also affected, who often attribute their fears to an allegedly risky driving style, the driver. Some drivers are helped by having a companion ride with them. For others, it only makes them more insecure because they fear injuring passengers in an accident, for example, when children are in the car.
Feelings of shame, lower self-esteem and diminishing self-confidence
Avoidance of car trips with sometimes increased withdrawal into one's own four walls and even social isolation
Higher risk of also suffering from depression
Risk of developing addictions due to desired calming by means of "self-therapy or self-medication
Problems in the professional and private environment, as people often look for ways out of having to drive a car
Difficulties and conflicts in relationships and partnership due to avoidance behavior
Driving anxiety and secondary diseases
Persistent and untreated driving anxiety can increase feelings of shame and often leads to lower self-esteem and self-awareness
. Other fears may also develop additionally as a concomitant condition if they were not there before such as agoraphobia
. The fear of driving can cause the sufferer to suffer panicattacks
while driving, resulting in them not driving at all or feeling unsafe on the roads in other situations, such as as being a pedestrian or cyclist. The anxiety can also spread to completely different life situations, such as shopping at the supermarket or taking the train. Those affected have a higher risk of developing depression or of developing addictions through "self-therapy or self-medication".
Driving anxiety hypnosis treatment
Treat fear of driving with hypnosis
It is possible to successfully alleviate symptoms of fear of driving with the help of hypnosis or to reduce the fear. Since 2006, there has been an expert opinion from the Scientific Advisory Board for Psychotherapy, which is made up of members of the German Medical Association and the German Chamber of Psychotherapists. This expert opinion scientifically recognizes hypnotherapy for adults as a method for various indications, including anxiety disorders. Various studies, such as "The effectiveness of hypnotherapy in anxiety disorders" by the psychologist Erich Flammer in 2007, were able to prove the effectiveness of the applications in anxiety disorders. The successes that can be achieved vary from person to person. The sooner those affected seek help, the more successful hypnotherapy can be. The respective hypnotizability also plays a role. Some people still find it a little difficult to fully engage in hypnosis during the first hypnosis session. This is obvious and quite normal, especially with regard to existing fears. A well-trained and experienced hypnotherapist knows how to professionally accompany people in this special situation.
Restore confidence in your own abilities
Hypnosis helps to restore confidence in one's own abilities. Hypnosis can be used to gently approach difficult situations while driving. In the process, people experience in the trance how to regain control over driving. Hypnosis strengthens confidence in oneself and one's own abilities and supports driving license novices, people who want to feel safer again after an accident and people who want to feel and experience security in their own abilities for the first time. Hypnosis speaks the language of images and connects to deep inner knowledge of your subconscious.
Safe and relaxed in road traffic
In addition to hypnosis, we support our clients in taking the experience of hypnosis into life and road traffic, beyond the hypnosis session, with practical self-hypnosis techniques. Once people have experienced new confidence in hypnosis, they experience themselves as safer and more relaxed when driving, and in doing so, they also give other drivers on the road and passengers a calm and safe feeling.