Approximately 8% of the UK suffers with a phobia. The stress of a phobia can cause a number of difficulties and overcoming one takes a lot of courage.
Melissa Conlon-Flynn has had aerophobia (the fear of flying) for more than 15 years. Simply the thought of getting on a flight can cause her to have extreme anxiety attacks.
“If you have a panic attack at just the thought of being in a certain situation, that could be a sign of a phobia”
As well as being an experienced counsellor and psychotherapist, Karen Dinmore has spent 10 years working alongside Virgin Atlantic. She wants to help people overcome their fear of flying – so that it doesn’t impact on their long-term mental health.
The NHS list the main symptoms of a phobia, which include:
Unsteadiness or dizziness
Increased heart rate and palpitations
Shortness of breath
Trembling or shaking
An upset stomach
Leaving a phobia untreated can not only affect your own health but, as Melissa knows only too well, it can also affect your personal relationships.
Breathing techniques are a good way to manage your anxiety and reduce panic attacks. They can be done anywhere, in almost any situation, and they only take a few minutes.
There are a number of ways to combat your phobia:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Specific phobia courses (E.g.: Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear course)
- Self-help therapy
If you suffer from a phobia you should arrange to see a Doctor, who will be able to refer you to a counsellor for further treatment. There are also a number of online treatments available.
The most important thing to remember if you suffer from a phobia – no matter how extreme it might be – is that it is more common than you think and the condition is treatable.