Improve your comfort

Know the Causes and Solutions to Panic Attacks on Planes

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Panic Attack Driving Phobia
Technically, the fear of flying is a Specific Phobia, one of several kinds of Anxiety Disorders. As an anxiety, the “fear” of flying is more concerned with what might happen than with what actually is happening. Fear of flying is one of the most common phobias. Millions more fly in various degrees of misery, often resorting to the use of alcohol or tranquilizers to “get through” a flight. Yet this is a very treatable problem. If you want to fly in comfort again, you can!
If you have a fear of flying, you might fear crashing. Or you might have claustrophobia, and fear being “trapped” in the airplane during a long flight. You might fear having a panic attack on the airplane. Whichever type of phobia you have, you can overcome aviophobia. The key to success is to understand what maintains your fear, and learn how to roll it back.

Causes of Panic Attacks on Planes
Phobias themselves can cause panic attacks, but are technically still phobias. They cause extreme fear that may create panic attack symptoms. But not everyone’s panic attacks are phobias, even on a plane, and while fear may be involved they are rarely the only cause/symptom. Learn more with my free anxiety test. There are many reasons that panic attacks on planes are common. Obviously fear is one of them – even though panic attacks can hit when you have no anxiety, the additional anxiety of being on a plane makes the more common. But there are other reasons.
The fear of flying has many components, not all of which are specific to flight itself. Some of these components are anxieties about heights, enclosed spaces, crowded conditions, sitting in hot, stale air, being required to wait passively, not understanding the reasons for all the strange actions, sounds, and sensations occurring around you, worrying about the dangers of turbulence, being dependent on unknown mechanical things to maintain your safety, being dependent on an unknown pilot’s judgment, not feeling in “control”, the possibility of terrorism.

So what does a panic attack feel like? In a nutshell, you’re overwhelmed by terror. And a conviction that catastrophe is imminent.

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In a matter of seconds, you’re engulfed by symptoms that may include: a sense of unreality, a feeling that you’re about to go crazy, a feeling that you’re about to lose control, dizziness, a pounding heart, chest pains (which are often wrongly interpreted as a heart attack – panic attacks don’t cause heart attacks), shortness of breath, sweating, trembling.
To make things worse, an attack often seems to come out of nowhere – an experience that’s frightening in itself. Even worse, when an attack starts, it usually gives rise to a vicious cycle of fear. Because your panicked mind reads the attack’s terrifying symptoms as proof that something dreadful is at hand. And then responds by panicking more.

So, if you do suffer panic attack on board the airplane, the solution is rather simple. Remember, you usually exhale more carbon dioxide than there is available in the air. So, by simply rebreathing your own exhaled breath, you can overcome panic attack within a minute or so. How to do it? Make use of the airsick bag in the rear seat pocket in front of you. Place the airsick bag over the mouth and nose and breathe normally. You should recover from your panic attacks within a short period.

Talk to your friend. Another unfortunate thing about planes is that telling others you’re scared is tough, because many people are scared and they do not like talking about it. But if you have a friend with you, talk to your friend about what you’re feeling. You don’t want to be in your own head too much, and talking to someone you know can be comforting.

To beat your fear effectively, you need to bone up on how planes are built and how they work. In particular, you need to fill your head with facts about the stuff that worries you most. Why? Because your fears are triggered when negative thoughts pop into your head. You can’t stop these negative thoughts creeping into your head, but you can stop them making you panicky. By challenging them with facts. For example, once you understand why turbulence isn’t an issue for planes, you can question your negative thoughts about turbulence as they pop into your head.
The 3 Week Diet
Improve your comfort. Try your best to reduce any discomforts. Loosen your belt a bit, find a comfortable spot in your chair, loosen your seat belt slightly – do things that will at least make it easier for you to sit without feeling all of the different things around you.

On the positive side, panic attacks don’t cause any physical harm. And they don’t last indefinitely. In fact, they normally go on for about 5-20 minutes. Often less.


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