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Driving Phobia
Orlando Anxiety Specialists Discuss Effective Treatment 

While many of us may not like heights or snakes or spiders, a dislike or fear becomes a phobia when it begins to significantly impact a person’s day-to-day life, typically by avoiding more and more situations in which one might encounter the thing we fear. Phobias aren’t just severe anxiety. Anxiety becomes a phobia by avoidance. At its worst, it will end with a panic attack.

Unlike fear of spiders (Arachnophobia) or fear of snakes (Ophidiophobia), there is no clinical term for fear of driving, yet driving phobias are not uncommon. A phobia of driving can severely affect a person’s ability to take part in every day tasks and narrow the range of choices in work, socializing, and hobbies. A phobia of driving can include people who avoid certain roads, like busy highways, to those who carefully plan routes so they don’t have to go on an overpass and those who must do everything possible in order to remain in the right lane. And there are individuals whose driving phobia has become so severe that they do not drive at all.

The root cause of many cases of driving phobia can be found in past incidents. For instance, someone who is afraid to drive on the highway may have experienced a frightening situation with a tractor-trailer truck on I-4 or have experienced or witnessed a severe accident. However, many individuals did not have a traumatic experience that set off their driving phobia. Their driving phobia came on gradually or it may have come and gone over a period of time, with no triggers involved. Whatever the reason, it generally it is not worth spending a lot of energy and time on figuring out the root cause. The objective is to learn to control the phobia.

For many individuals with a driving phobia, there is typically a build-up of anxiety and dread before the drive. When actually driving symptoms include:

  • Thinking you will have a panic attack  orlando driving phobia therapy
  • Thinking you will loose control
  • Thinking you will pass out
  • Thinking you won’t be able to focus
  • Thinking you will cause an accident

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension

When these physical symptoms come on, many individuals with a driving phobia will do the following:

  • Pull over
  • Slow down (sometimes to a dangerously slow speed)
  • Have someone pick them up

However, quite often, many individuals with a driving phobia won’t put themselves into a situation to experience these uncomfortable situations or sensations in the first place. They will, instead, simply avoid driving on the roads that make them uncomfortable or avoid driving altogether. Driving phobias can affect anyone. Many individuals with a driving phobia once had no trouble at all driving, but now they experience anxiety and panic when driving, or choose not to  drive at all.

At GroundWork Counseling we can help you to overcome your fears about driving so you can feel confident and drive more comfortably. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, our therapists will help you to learn new ways of thinking, helping you to decease your anxiety and overcome your fears.


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GroundWork Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
341 N Maitland Ave #330
Maitland, FL 32751


411 Congress St #3292
Portland, ME 04101

Burlington, VT 05043

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