Panic Attack While Driving
How To Stop the Panic Attacks While Driving A Car
I've suffered from panic attacks for several years, and while I'm pretty much ok now, I still have at times a flare up of the anxious feling when driving. But how to know when it the right feeling and when it's about something else?
Well, some of the main symptoms are becoming lightheaded, with sweaty palms, dizzy and with your heart pumping adrenaline like an overdosed drug addict, especially while driving a car. These signs are usually symptoms of Panic Attack While Driving, also called driving anxiety or anxiety when driving.
One important thing to understand is that anyone driving a car, pretty much any type of car, on any road, at any time, can experience this - it happens pretty much suddenly, with very little forewarning. At least that's how it has manifested to me over and over again.
Here I want to give you a few tips on how to deal with your driving anxiety and what to do when it happens - and before it does, along with listing of useful books and places to visit that will help!
Driving panic attacks can be actually treated and even cured naturally and you don't have to suffer from them. Panic and anxiety is not something a person has to live with for the rest of their lives, and even if it does come back now and then, its occurrence will definitely be minimized to a level that is much easier to bear - until one day you realize that you haven't had an attack in ages.
I'm usually not a person to get scared easily (well, except when watching horror movies). That's why the first time I had an attack of panic when on the road, I really got scared. Not so much because of the feeling itself, but because I had no idea what it was and why it was happening to me.
I mean imagine driving when suddenly you get gripped by a feeling of fight of flight and when you start to think about it, your mind gets paralyzed, numb. And you're on the road, where concentrating on driving should be the most important thing. Except it isn't.
I remember I had to stop the car (thankfully was not on the highway) and had to think of why was I suddenly so panicky, so afraid as if my life depended on something...but on what? It was a feeling like the world would end any time soon and I was smack in the middle of it.
And I remember once I had to start the car again, boy that was on of the worst feelings ever - I felt like I just couldn't do it. I think in a way it was better for me to not know that what I was experiencing was a panic attack because while my mind kept wondering at it all - I knew that something was wrong, just didn't know what exactly - a part of my mind knew that I could not remain there in the middle of nowhere, so I simply had to continue. But it was one of the hardest drives I've ever had to take.
What Causes Panic Attacks While Driving?
There are many things that can trigger an attack of driving anxiety, and depending on the person it can manifest itself in a variety of ways.
What is common in many cases is a strong memory of a driving accident - the person doesn't need to have been driving, it was enough to simply be in the car as a passenger.
At times symptoms of post traumatic stress can manifest themselves as driving panic attacks. Or the fact that the partner has just passed away, or a nasty divorce has just gone through...there are any numbers of triggers for it. It can even manifest itself when the person moves to another location.
For me it was pretty much a very big move across the sea, two thousand miles away from my previous country. While on the surface the move was nothing big, in fact it did shake my balance quite a bit and it took me years to fully adjust. Globalization is really not as easy as everyone makes it to be.
I Can Highly Recommend This Workbook
This one book helped me a lot in understanding what I was going through and made me realize that well, it's 'all in my head' so to speak, in that it's not really about a life threatening situation per se, but it's about an attack of panic, of anxiety that can be eliminated for good.
One of the best books on the subject of getting rid of anxiety and panic attacks, including driving anxiety, without medication. It's just a few bucks at Amazon, worth checking it out.
When you start to avoid doing certain things, when you try to find excuses to not go somewhere or do something, when the anxiety when driving grips you more often than not, this book is for you.
Learn To Get Rid Of Your Fear Of Driving
Here are some great books and DVDs that can be of help when learning to get rid of panic attacks when driving. Afterall causing an accident due to an anxiety attack can prove to be even fatal.
Driving Panic Attacks And Driving Phobias
Are they the same?
I get asked by people who know that I used to suffer from panic attacks while driving whether driving panic attacks and driving phobias are the same, or they're something else entirely.
The two terms are not quite the same. Generally panic attacks are sudden and quite unexpected fears and feelings of impeding doom, danger and some big trouble ahead. Phobias are fears of things that usually shouldn't cause anxiety in people (e.g. fears of elevators, fears of spiders, fears of being in a large crowd, etc).
However when it comes to driving, in both cases the same symptoms occur. The main difference is about how the fear comes to be.
With panic and anxiety attacks, there is nothing in the history of the drivers to point towards such a fear when at the wheel.
On the other hand, a fear, a phobia of driving can occur due to some repressed memories. For example, I have a friend who as a small child was in a car accident. Luckily nothing happened to the family on the road, however ever since, he is trying to cure his phobia of driving, and even of being in a car at all.
Knowing where the fear stems from (irrational fear as in the case of a panic attack / anxiety when driving, or stemming from a real (or perceived as real) situation as in the case of a phobia), will help greatly in knowing what is the best cure, treatment for it.
For example phobias can easily be treated with NLP (I've cured my own nail biting habit and my fear of elevators with NLP on my own as an NLP practitioner), whereas anxiety panic attacks can be kept at bay and even cured with different methods, some of which I actually describe in this article.
Panic Attacks While Driving - What Can You Do?
Obviously you don't want to stop driving a car for the rest of your life, to limit living your life to its fullest, so what can you do to help yourself before, or when a panic attack grips you while driving?
Here are some tips to calm panic attacks while diving, or how to avoid them altogether! Panic while driving doesn't have to be a constant in your life!
Are you suffering from panic attack while driving?
Avoid Panic Attacks While Driving
# Listen to music you enjoy to help ease the stress of driving, and take your mind away from the possible stress. Also it is important because you are falling back to known ground, to what you are familiar with, and this is important when having driving panic attacks on the highway.
# Have some fruit or light snack around to give your body something to do besides release adrenaline into your body.
# Don't think about the action of driving the car. This is very important. Don't focus on it!
Look out the window at the scenery; look over the car directly in front of you.
# If you have a car radio, search for some interesting music channels, or put on a CD, or an audio book, to take your mind away from the thought that you're driving a car.
# Have always a cell/mobile phone with you, it will give you a sense of security and safety. It's amazing how much we got to rely on the cellphone these days. Put this to your advantage!
Use Essential Oil Diffusers In Your Car When Driving
This is a great stress reliever and calmer of the mind: use a few drops of essential oils in an electric diffuser when driving. Some of the oils that have a calming and relaxing effect are: chamomile, lavender, bergamot, melissa, neroli and ylang ylang. For a more comprehensive list of essential oils and blends that you can use see: Aromatherapy recipes for anxiety and panic attacks.
Essential Oil Diffusers for Your Car
Here are some of the aromatic diffusers that you can use while driving to calm the mind and the nerves while on the road. Here is also a list of more electric aromatherapy diffusers for the home and car.
Deal With a Panic Attack While Driving
So you feel the first signs of a panic attacks while driving coming. Ok, don't panic! (pun intended). Just do the following, and you should be alright:.
# First thing, pull over. You will know the first signs of a panic attack, as they usually are accelerated breathing and heart beat. Get out of the car and walk around a bit, take a deep and slow breath, one at a time, slowly, until you have calmed down.
If you can't get out of the car (not optimal conditions on the road), then recline your seat, close your eyes and focus on calming yourself down.
# Have a bottle of water with you in your car. Although I am usually against it, in this case, if you feel a panic attack coming on while you are driving, you can either take some anti-anxiety medication or just drink a bit water, to calm down those rapid heart beats.
# Have soothing music in your radio, or have a CD handy with reiki, healing, soothing music, and make sure it's turned on when you feel a panic attack is on its way. Try to listen intently to the music, focus on it and just breathe deeply and slowly.
# Have a brown paper bag in your car in case you hyperventilate (for emergency breathing help)
# Don't try to fight it! Be aware that you are experiencing a panic attack, and know that it will pass.
# Take deep slow breaths. Imagine yourself going in slow motion. If you are going in slow motion (even if in your mind), you won't be hyperventilating, which just fuels your anxiety.
# Use the following affirmations:
"I am a competent driver and always arrive at my destination safely."
"I am calm, alert and in full control while driving."
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