How Is Amaxophobia Treated With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

How is Amaxophobia treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

It is not just any fear or just an unimportant fear: amaxophobia is real. However, like any phobia, few can understand the anguish, the rapid heartbeat or the feeling of dizziness that is felt when faced with the challenge of driving a vehicle.

Exact! Although his name sounds complicated, amaxophobia is nothing more than the intense fear of being behind the wheel. This can be a great impediment to the daily development of the people who experience it, since driving a car is, in many scenarios, a very necessary skill. The important thing is that there are ways to treat it!, and we are going to learn about them below.

Amaxophobia: what is it?

Amaxophobia, also known as fear of driving, is an anxiety disorder which affects to a lesser or greater extent more than 20% of drivers in Spain, according to figures published by the European Automobile Commissioner Foundation (CEA). This is characterized by an intense and uncontrollable anxiety response to the idea or actual situation of driving a vehicle.

This phobia can be debilitating and have a significant impact on the quality of life of those who suffer from it, since people who experience it feel a disproportionate fear that does not correspond to the real danger of driving.

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The causes of its appearance can be very varied. Some may develop this fear after experiencing a traffic accident or a dangerous situation in a vehicle. Having witnessed an accident or receiving negative information about driving could also be triggers.

There are also characteristics that many people who suffer from this disorder share. Perfectionism and thoughts of rigidity, negativity, low self-esteem that makes them believe much less in their abilities, stress or social phobia could also predispose the appearance of amaxophobia.

In addition, amaxophobia can also be associated with other phobias or anxiety disorders, such as fear of speed (also known as tachophobia) or agoraphobia, that is, the irrational fear of being in a context or space that is considered unsafe and in which it is feasible to receive help in the event of a crisis or emergency.

But you have to accept it: Driving requires a certain coordination, being alert, remembering rules, and it is normal that this can awaken at least a little insecurity, especially for beginner drivers. The same would apply for certain adverse weather conditions or some lonely road. However, what distinguishes this worry or insecurity from amaxophobia is the intensity and recurrence with which these symptoms are experienced.

Symptoms of amaxophobia

There are several signs that you could suffer from amaxophobia, although symptoms can vary from person to person. These can be both physical and psychological. Below we will mention some:

Among the psychological ones, the following stand out:

All of these manifestations can negatively impact the daily life of those who suffer from it, even limiting their mobility and their ability to move independently by preventing these symptoms from occurring.

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How to overcome amaxophobia?

Although amaxophobia can be a debilitating condition, there are strategies and resources available to overcome it.

1. Educate yourself about amaxophobia!

Learn more about the fear of driving and road safety aspects can help you reduce anxiety associated with driving. Knowing more about it can provide a more realistic perspective, avoid myths, and reduce unfounded concerns.

2. Share your fear with your support network

Seeking support from loved ones or support groups can be a huge help in dealing with the fear of driving. Sharing experiences and concerns with people who have been through similar situations can offer you a sense of community and support.

3. Seek psychological support

A professional can help you understand your fear and gradually expose yourself to it. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors associated with amaxophobia. Through cognitive restructuring, positive changes can be achieved in the way of thinking and acting when driving.

How is amaxophobia treated with cognitive behavioral therapy?

As you see, overcoming amaxophobia can take time and patience, but with the right approach and the right support, it is possible to regain self-confidence and enjoy the driving experience. If you experience these symptoms, consult a mental health professional! Receiving help in a timely manner will help you overcome this fear and recover the quality of life you want, especially if you go to a psychologist who is an expert in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Let’s see how the latter can help you.

1. Relaxation techniques

Including deep breathing techniques, meditation or yoga in your daily routine can help control anxiety and stress. Especially during times when you will have to drive! In cognitive-behavioral therapy, the psychologist will train you in the use of these strategies.

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2. Controlled exposure

Another key to CBT is controlled exposure, which is very effective in treating phobias. In it, the psychologist begins to expose yourself to situations that generate fear in a controlled, gradual, accompanied and safe way. This may mean starting with short trips and gradually increasing the duration and distance of the trips.

3. Systematic desensitization

This technique is similar to the previous one, but in this case, while exposing yourself to the phobic stimulus, you will perform actions that induce a state of relaxation. In this way you stop associating a peak of anxiety with the act of driving.

4. Cognitive restructuring

In this case, the psychologist will help you detect those beliefs that have been irrationally fueling your fear of driving. This way, you can replace them with more adaptive ones.