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Call The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles: (310) 429-1024 or San Diego: (619) 961-1003. Or email Dr. April NOW.

Three locations serving Los Angeles, San Diego and The South Bay!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fear of Freeway Driving: A Common Phobia

 by Dr. Lindsay Kramer, psychotherapist and staff writer at The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Do you or someone you know have a fear of driving on freeways?  This is not uncommon.  We turn on the morning news, and we inevitably hear about traffic accidents on freeways.  If you are a resident in Los Angeles or San Diego, California, freeway driving is equivalent to owning a cell phone—necessary and efficient.  After all, Los Angeles and San Diego are not known for their public transportation system.  So let’s talk about freeway anxiety and how to master the strength to get behind the wheel.

A fear of freeway driving can derive from many different situations.  I have worked with numerous patients that developed a phobia of driving on the freeway after being in car accidents.  This is particularly true when the accident was not their fault.  Fear can develop when we feel a loss of control over ourselves in a situation.  And being rear-ended or side-swiped out of nowhere can induce extreme anxiety—especially when later attempting to drive that same freeway where the accident occurred.  

I have also worked with patients whom have never driven on a freeway and the phobia simply exists due to uncertainty.  For these individuals, the terror that arises when even thinking of driving on the freeway is debilitating and can result in avoidance to minimize anxious feelings.  Some are able to drive on local streets; however, many cannot bring themselves to enter the freeway on-ramp due to the higher rates of speed, plus fear of panic if unable to exit the freeway should they become too anxious.  

Now, obviously, there are ways to travel without having to drive.  However, it is generally agreed that the most effective and practical means of transportation is driving (especially in LA and San Diego).  It cuts back on travel time, and it keeps us from relying on those unpredictable bus routes and schedules.  We can load our car with a week’s worth of groceries rather than being limited to what we can carry in our recyclable bags.  We can be independent and maintain freedom of choice with regard to our destination at all times.  Overall, driving just makes life easier, more pleasant and enjoyable.
Now how do we overcome a phobia of driving on the freeway?  Or even just driving anxiety in general?  First and foremost, it is essential to understand the nature of the phobia. What happens when I think about getting behind the wheel and driving on the freeway or highway?  What are the distorted thoughts that elicit panic? 

The next step is seeking out treatment.  The only proven method for treating freeway phobia is cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Using specific tools and methods, a trained anxiety specialist can work with you to gradually desensitize your fear of freeway driving.  In addition, the anxiety doctor will systematically expose you to the feared situation, while working with you to manage the anxiety. 
With driving anxiety treatment, success stories are consistent when it comes to helping people overcome freeway phobias.  It can be so limiting to live in a big city and not experience the wealth of it due to driving anxiety.  I challenge you to take the step to enrich your life and call The April Center.  Let’s help you get your life back!
All the best,  
from The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

P. S.  Don't forget to sign up for our anxiety newsletter on our website's home page where you'll receive free anxiety tips! 


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The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles and The South Bay

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