Every morning, Ana María takes a bus in the corner of her house to go to work. At 6 o’clock in the afternoon, on the way home, he faces the traffic of the city from the back seat of a taxi. Nothing strange would have this story if in the parking lot of his house was not parked a car in perfect condition, without being used.

    That car is your car. And although she has sometimes tried to drive through the city (and even on nearby roads), the fear, intense and paralyzing, invades and makes her weak. Palpitations, sweating, choking, trembling hands and an intense fear of losing control are his companions when he climbs behind the wheel. She can not, she has never been able to, and she thinks that each day she is farther from overcoming that fear that makes her complex: the fear of driving.

    Like Ana Maria there are thousands of drivers around the world who suffer from a phobic disorder called amaxophobia or fear of driving a vehicle.

    Amaxophobia is a word that comes from the Greek amaxo (car) and phobia (fear). It can occur for the first time after suffering or witnessing a traffic accident , a sudden and inexplicable fear while driving or for no apparent reason. Anyway, the amaxofobia is framed within the anxiety disorders that an individual can suffer at any time of his life, (although this particular disorder appears, according to studies, between 30 and 40 years of age).

    It is estimated that 30% of people in the world can suffer from this disease, and of these, 87% are women and 13% men(who are more reluctant to talk openly about this disease). This fear can be so strong that it can create in the individual who suffers from it alternating disorders such as agoraphobia (fear of being in open spaces), generalized anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

    But this phobia does not only occur during the very act of driving. It can also be generated before driving the vehicle , when the person presents a psychological alteration called anticipatory anxiety,which means that the affected person creates in his mind a series of catastrophic situations and thoughts associated with the exercise of driving. Anything that may be threatening to the affected (walking on bridges, slopes, roundabouts, fast roads, among others) generates an intense fear in the person, who reacts by fleeing the situation avoiding completely driving a vehicle. In doing so, he feels an immediate relief in his symptoms and that is where the problem worsens: he does not try to drive again for fear of repeating this unpleasant experience.

    Generally, people who suffer from this phobia (and really any type of phobia) want to have absolute control of all situations in their life . Knowing that driving can lose control of themselves or the vehicle they drive at any time, they avoid driving at all costs. A vicious circle that seems to have no end.

    Amaxophobia is a disease that affects the daily life of the individual, unable to mobilize by itself and, therefore, depend on other people to do so. It also creates frustrations (not being able to do what others do without seeming difficulties) and low levels of self-esteem.

    How to overcome it?

    But this problem has a solution. People with these types of disorders are advised to attend therapy with a behavioral psychologist , with whom the person can vent all their fears and face them in a rational way. Understand that what you imagine may never happen, may be the first step to a definitive cure.

    The second, and after the specialist recommends it, is to start taking driving lessons with an expert instructor in nervous drivers. In Colombia, this program is taught by some driving schools and what they seek is for the person to take confidence in himself when driving a vehicle. It is recommended that the instructor knows in advance the most relevant fears in the driver and thus be able to carry out the process successfully.

    When you are overcoming fear, start driving your vehicle. Do it alone or in the company of people of extreme confidence . Making small trips, such as going around the block or going to the nearest store, you will begin to take confidence in yourself. Drive slowly, identify what kind of fears still accompany you and tell the psychologist during the treatment.

    The final solution to this problem is only in the hands of the sufferer. Fear can be paralyzing in a person’s life and only by facing it can the solution be. With the help of the right professionals, the fear of driving can go away forever.

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