Every day it becomes more necessary to use private transport to, among other things, be able to get to the workplace quickly. In addition, cars are becoming more ecological and this, without a doubt, makes the use of the car more and more attractive.
Even so, there are people who have developed a fear of driving or amaxophobia and this prevents them from using the car, even if doing so makes their day-to-day life easier. Amaxophobia is a type of phobia that is still unknown to many.
INDEX OF CONTENTS
Therefore, in today’s article we are going to talk about what, what are the most common symptoms, what is the difference between a rational and an irrational fear and what we can do to overcome this fear. Likewise, we will also show you a test so that you can know if you have this phobia or not.
What is amaxophobia?
Amaxophobia, also known as fear of driving, is a type of situational phobia. It could be defined as the appearance of intense anxiety about having to drive (APA, 2013). It can appear in the form of fear of having an accidentfear of doing damagefear of having a jam, afraid to run over to a passerby, fear of having a panic attack, upsetting other drivers, or fear of losing consciousness (Bados, 2017).
It is also important to note that this phobia is more common than it seems. A study carried out by the Mapfre Institute in 2005 (cited in Hernández, 2017) revealed that in Spain up to 30% of people who drive have some kind of fear when driving and that of these up to 12% avoid using the car on a day-to-day basis.
Related to the above, another study on driving anxiety carried out in 2018 by the CEA Foundation concluded the following:
- amaxophobia occurs more in women than in men
- It’s a problem that it gets worse with age
- Up to 21.1% of people who have amaxophobia avoid driving and 22.8% only drive if absolutely necessary
- The Adverse weather conditions, the existence of a lot of traffic or highways negatively affect to the appearance of this phobia
- Until 24.2% of the people interviewed state that the fear of driving has been generated by having suffered an accident in the past
- Of all the people affected Only 42.7% have asked for help from a professional, of which 43.2% have asked for help from a psychologist and 43.2% from a driving school.
What are the symptoms of amaxophobia?
Taking all of the above into account, we could say that Amaxophobia manifests itself as intense anxiety about having to drive. may appear sweating, tachycardia, dizziness, chest pain, anticipatory thoughts, catastrophic thoughts, etc.
Likewise, in most cases, people with this problem perform defensive behaviors for example, grab the wheel with great force, always drive in the right lane, drive very short distances, drive only in favorable weather conditions, drive below the maximum speed limit of the road, avoid driving if it is not essential, etc. (Bados, 2017).
Another thing to keep in mind is that, on many occasions, also an irrational fear of upsetting other drivers appears. For example, they avoid having to park in crowded places in order not to disturb other people when making the necessary maneuvers to park the vehicle.
What is the difference between fear of the novice driver and amaxophobia?
It is essential to differentiate the fear of a novice driver from amaxophobia in order to give each one the attention it deserves. As we already saw in an article that we dedicated to phobias and fears, the phobia is an intense, persistent, excessive and irrational fear while the fear does not have these characteristics.
In other words, the novice driver’s fear, even if it had a certain irrational component, would not be so excessive, nor so persistent or so intense. This would occur only in the first months of driving and as a result of inexperience and lack of practice.
Therefore, the difference between one and the other would be the following: in amaxophobia the fear is prolonged and irrational and in the novice driver it is not prolonged and it is not so irrational. Of course, in the event that the fear of the novice driver lasts over time and/or is limiting, we could be talking about amaxophobia.
What is the treatment for amaxophobia?
At PsicoGlobal, pioneers in online therapy, we use cognitive behavioral treatment, as it has proven to be the most effective for the treatment of specific phobias.
Among others, some of the techniques and tools we use are the following:
- Psychoeducation. So that the affected person can understand what amaxophobia is and how it manifests itself.
- Cognitive restructuring. On many occasions, phobias have a high irrational component made up of catastrophic thoughts. The objective of cognitive restructuring is to work on these thoughts.
- Relaxation and breathing techniques. In order to reduce anxiety in the event that it occurs.
- Exposure with prevention of response. The objective is to make a gradual exposure or approach to the stimuli that generate anxiety.
In addition, if necessary, we will also use other techniques, since all therapy should analyze the needs of each patient in order to offer a psychological therapy adapted to the needs of each one.
How to know if you have amaxophobia? Take the amaxophobia quiz.
Next, we present a questionnaire that aims to assess whether you could be a victim of amaxophobia.
Answer the following questions:
Rate between 5 (a lot) and 0 (none) the degree of fear caused by the following traffic situations:
1. Starting on a hill.
2. Join the highways.
3. When parking, cause the stop of other vehicles.
4.Circulate parallel to a bus.
5. At an intersection, another vehicle appears from the side.
6. Circulate with motorcycles or bicycles nearby.
7. Drive in rain or fog.
8.Lower mountain passes.
9. Overcoming obstacles in narrow streets.
10. Circulate at night.
11. Drive in heavy traffic.
12. See pedestrians crossing the road.
13. A vehicle looming at an intersection.
14. Being overtaken on a narrow road.
15. Overtake on a two-way street.
16. That the vehicle stalls, hindering circulation.
17. Long downhills.
18. The tunnels.
19. Highways with more than two lanes.
20. Bridges and flyovers.
21. Other unspecified situations.
Amaxophobia is a type of phobia that affects a large part of the population and manifests itself as an intense fear of situations related to driving. On many occasions it can become limiting, since affected people avoid driving.
In the event that you present any of the symptoms that we have mentioned in this article, we recommend that you contact a mental health professional. At PsicoGlobal, pioneers in online therapy, we can help you.
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (5th ed.). Washington, DC.
Bados, A. (2017). Specific phobias. Retrieved from diposit.ub.edu
European Commissioner for the Automobile Foundation, CEA. (2018). Study on driving anxiety: amaxophobia in drivers. Retrieved from fundacioncea.es
Hernandez, A. (2017). Regarding a case: mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy applied for the treatment of amaxophobia. Journal of clinical cases in Mental Health, 1, 77-97.