Susana Molina, winner of GH 14 and a notable influencer, recently disclosed that she has overcome a phobia that plagues a considerable percentage of drivers – amaxophobia, or the fear of driving. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of potential treatment options for this irrational fear. However, with proper mental health care, overcoming this phobia can greatly improve the quality of life for those who suffer from it.
Phobias, in general, are unfounded fears born of anxiety and a sense of disgust or ruminating thoughts that lead to catastrophic outcomes. These feelings cause clinical discomfort and can even trigger panic attacks. Pharmacological treatments do not work for such fears, and the most effective solution is conductive-behavioral therapy, which helps patients recognize the illogical and irrational nature of their fear.
Statistics reveal that a significant number of Spanish drivers struggle with the fear of driving. Studies show that 22% of drivers experience anxiety while driving, and nearly 19% choose to give up driving altogether as they cannot control the fear. Ana Arrechavaleta, a psychologist at Vithas Nisa Rey Don Jaime Hospital, explains that the phobia is not limited to new drivers, as people of all ages and gender experience it.
Amaxophobia is best treated on three levels, including working on thoughts that hinder the individual from driving, acquiring anxiety management techniques, and adopting a gradual program to cope with driving. Early intervention is critical as early stages of the fear are easier to handle. In case of avoidance, the apprehension will slowly and steadily transform into a phobia.
At Vithas Nisa Rey Don Jaime Hospital, professionals first discuss the patient’s problem to identify the level of phobia. Gradual exposure to places where the fear is non-existent, combined with relaxation techniques, helps build self-confidence, reducing stress and nervousness. The gradual journey culminates in driving on highways and facing new challenges. It is important to note that the driving classes that offer to refresh skills are not the right solution to overcome amaxophobia. Instead, the treatment should be overseen by psychological specialists.
In conclusion, despite being a common problem, amaxophobia can be successfully treated through conductive-behavioral therapy. Immediate and proper care is especially essential as the fear can slowly escalate into a phobia. Seeking therapy will result in a significant positive change to an individual’s daily life, opening up new opportunities to travel and giving rise to a sense of self-assurance and security.