When did this become a Fear of Flying board?

pinworm

Lifetime Elite
The endless posts with endless irrationality and panic are getting tiresome. Use your head, and grow a pair. Get a grip, people.

There are so many more things worthy of your anxiety that you do on a day to day basis. Eating, driving, walking, weather, terrorism..all of them carry higher risks than flying.

And what is the deal with LLL? The guy claims he never flies, yet he frequents a turbulence board. That's a sign of a real pathological case.


Turbulence is unpleasant but will not kill you.
 

MrsMorton

New member
With all do respect, why else would anyone want to know how much turbulence to expect? People have fears and it's only natural so you should respect that and keep your inconsiderate comments to yourself. I'm a very fearful flier and am forced to fly often due to my job. I take great comfort in having a general idea of how uncomfortable my flight will be. If that's a problem for you, why don't you log out and find another board to post insulting comments on?
 
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pinworm

Lifetime Elite
Respect? Seriously? Those who don't want to be mocked shouldn't have such mockable behaviors. Respect is earned..nobody is entitled to it.

Irrational thinking and out of control panic are not worthy of respect. I insulted you? You deserve to be insulted if you are weak minded enough to let unfounded fears control you so much.
 

Capt_Tom_Bunn_LCSW

Lifetime Elite
Fear Of Flying And Turbulence

Fear Of Flying And Turbulence

Turbulence is the number one issue for people who are afraid of flying. It doesn't matter how many times they are told that turbulence is not a safety problem, the fear remains. Why? Everyone knows if you can keep something out of mind, it won't cause you anxiety. So fearful fliers try to do this on the plane. When flying, they try to pretend they are elsewhere. Or they try to stay focused on a book or a movie.

That works if the flight is smooth. But if there is turbulence, it can't be ignored. It intrudes, and defeats their strategy of keeping the flight out of mind. Once turbulence keeps them from pretending they are not on a plane, they are in big trouble emotionally.

It gets worse. When anxiety rises to a certain level, we lose our ability to distinguish what we fear will happen from what is actually happening. For most of us, anxiety would have to be high, very high, for that to happen. But for many fearful fliers, only a small amount of anxiety causes them to lose the ability to distinguish imagination from actuality. When this ability (reflective function) is lost, the fear that the plane is plunging get transformed into an experience of the plane actually plunging, or on the very verge of plunging. Either way, this causes terror. This sets up a vicious cycle in which reality is lost.

Unfortunately, many fearful fliers take medication which reduces reflective function and makes it much more likely that they will believe what they imagine is happening to be actually happening. Research shows that, versus placebo, anti-anxiety meds INCREASE panic when flying by a factor of ten!

Since education about turbulence will not help them, what can? I'm both an airline captain (now retired) and a licensed therapist, and I've worked on this problem for thirty years. The only way I know of to fix this problem is to link each moment of flight to a moment in which an anti-anxiety hormone (oxytocin) is naturally produced in the brain. When oxytocin is being produced, it shuts down the fear system. So the "trick" is to cause the fearful flier to produce oxytocin throughout the flight. I do this by having the person train their mind to associate all the various things that happen on a flight to a moment in which they naturally produced oxytocin. For example, the highest amount of oxytocin is produced when a mother nurses an infant. Sexual foreplay also produces oxytocin, as will other romantic moments. When such a moment is linked, by repeatedly bringing both to mind at the same time, anxiety about flying is reduced or eliminated.

Until that happens, turbulence remains a major issue and preoccupation with fearful fliers.
 

Pixie

New member
pinworm, what is wrong with you? So you consider people who have (according to you) an irrational fear of flying due to turbulence to be weak minded and contemptible? Fine, that's your opinion. I consider people who lack empathy and a basic respect for others to be arrogant as*holes who need to stfu. That's my opinion. If you have a problem with people who have a fear of turbulence/flying, then I wonder that you take the time to troll the forums picking fights with those people. As Mrs. Morton stated above, why else would people want to know how much turbulence to expect?
 

hokiemas

Lifetime Elite
I agree that one of the main reasons that people navigate to this website and ask for reports of possible turbulence is a fear of turbulence or flying. The thing is, no matter how irrational the fear may be, 1 out of 3 people on the plane are afraid of flying (at least thats the stat I've read other places). Getting forecasts of possible turbulence can help some people get in the mindset of accepting the turbulence. If you know it's coming, it's not quite as scary. The same way that when the pilot communicates the possibility of turbulence to the passengers, it eases fears and anxieties. I would argue that most people that have a fear of flying (myself included) do not actually fear flying, but fear a total lack of control and a fear of the unknown. Light to moderate turbulence can feel like violent shaking to someone that doesn't travel a lot or isn't familiar with air travel. With no recourse besides gripping the arm rests and waiting for this shaking to stop, especially in cases where the flight crew isn't vocal about the turbulence, folks can start to freak out a little.

I am slowly getting over my fears. I flew in December from Mexico to Virginia and then from Virginia to Mexico with no real anxiety despite some pretty heaving shaking as we neared Mexico on the return trip. I will give credit to the United pilot on my first flight. He actually came out of the cockpit prior to takeoff and addressed the passengers. He let us know that we could listen on channel 9 and that we should keep our seat belts fastened since we most likely would encounter some bumpy patches during the flight. That was all it took to keep me calm. Here was this guy, cool, calm, and collected, with no worry whatsoever about turbulence he knew we would encounter. That really helped me travel worry free and I am grateful to the captain of that flight.

My rambling is coming to a close, but I would say that while the reasons behind the fear of flying are irrational, the fear is nevertheless real for all those who experience it. I think we would all get over it with joy if it were that easy. Until then, this forum adds to my comfort level, even if I am more of a reader than poster.
 

jlfc

New member
I am a frequent travelent , millon miler in AA and have seen my share of turbulence , but must say that the great majority of my flights are uneventfull. I have a wife that travels with me and definetly is afraid of the above so I can relate to fear of fliying. This is basically a phobia and like all phobias the may not be rational but they are debilitating to the one that suffers it. So its definetly no laughfing matter.If you cant deal with it through methods of relaxation , a mild anti anxiety medication will definetly help some , especially in very long flights.
 

Capt_Tom_Bunn_LCSW

Lifetime Elite
To make the point clearly, anti anxiety medication should not be used for two reasons:

1. it increases the problem. Research at Stamford University School Of Medicine found that when a group of fearfly fliers were given either a placebo or alprazolam (Xanax), only 7% of those taking the placebo had panic during the flight, whereas 71% taking the active medication had panic. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9299803

2. The World Health Organization recommends sedatives should not be taken when flying due to sharply increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis when immobile in a passenger seat. See http://presszoom.com/story_135160.html

Relaxation exercises are helpful on the ground but are useless when flying. See research report at this link: http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/42/13/25.full
 

Capt_Tom_Bunn_LCSW

Lifetime Elite
To make the point clearly, anti anxiety medication should not be used for two reasons:

1. it increases the problem. Research at Stamford University School Of Medicine found that when a group of fearfly fliers were given either a placebo or alprazolam (Xanax), only 7% of those taking the placebo had panic during the flight, whereas 71% taking the active medication had panic. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9299803

2. The World Health Organization recommends sedatives should not be taken when flying due to sharply increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis when immobile in a passenger seat. See http://presszoom.com/story_135160.html

Relaxation exercises are helpful on the ground but are useless when flying. See research report at this link: http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/42/13/25.full

If interested in viewing my 18 minute video on fear of flying, it is at http://www.fearofflying.com/store/free-video.shtml
 

jlfc

New member
I agree if you take a anxiolytic at a large dose but I really do not think that a very low dose will significantly increase the risk of thrombosis especially in a 2 to 3 hour trip which in the majority of trips is the duration of the flight. I only know that it works for some people.
 

Capt_Tom_Bunn_LCSW

Lifetime Elite
But meds don't work. When a person's reflective function is impaired, they become less able to distinguish reality from what they fear. Thus, in turbulence, when the plane is merely going up-down-up-down-up-down, they notice only the down movement, because they is what they fear and are primed to notice. Thus, though the plane does not leave its proper altitude more than a few inches (if that), they experience the plane as falling a thousand feet. Then, when they get off the plane, they believe they narrowly escaped death, and were able to endure the terror only because of the meds. They never catch on that the meds caused the terror.

So they continue taking meds to fly. The meds continue to impair their reflective function, which causes them to experience terror that other passengers do not experience. And again they get off the plane sure they escaped death. That continues until they quit flying, unable to deal with the terror, and what they truly believe is a threat to their safety.

We are not far removed from schizophrenia; in schizophrenia, reflective function is always impaired and the person cannot distinguish reality from what is feared. When medicated and exposed to turbulence, the person TEMPORARILY cannot distinguish reality from what is feared. More bluntly said, the combination of meds and turbulence produces a temporary schizophrenic response, but one which is - after the meds, turbulence, and flight are over - is not recognized for what it was.

Back to the thrombosis; the WHO research showed that in four hours of immobility the risk doubled.
 

Capt_Tom_Bunn_LCSW

Lifetime Elite
But meds don't work. When a person's reflective function is impaired, they become less able to distinguish reality from what they fear. Thus, in turbulence, when the plane is merely going up-down-up-down-up-down, they notice only the down movement, because they is what they fear and are primed to notice. Thus, though the plane does not leave its proper altitude more than a few inches (if that), they experience the plane as falling a thousand feet. Then, when they get off the plane, they believe they narrowly escaped death, and were able to endure the terror only because of the meds. They never catch on that the meds caused the terror.

So they continue taking meds to fly. The meds continue to impair their reflective function, which causes them to experience terror that other passengers do not experience. And again they get off the plane sure they escaped death. That continues until they quit flying, unable to deal with the terror, and what they truly believe is a threat to their safety.

We are not far removed from schizophrenia; in schizophrenia, reflective function is always impaired and the person cannot distinguish reality from what is feared. When medicated and exposed to turbulence, the person TEMPORARILY cannot distinguish reality from what is feared. More bluntly said, the combination of meds and turbulence produces a temporary schizophrenic response, but one which is - after the meds, turbulence, and flight are over - is not recognized for what it was.

Back to the thrombosis; the WHO research showed that in four hours of immobility the risk doubled.
 

Pixie

New member
Just as a personal experience, I find that Xanax def. helps me. If I fly w/o taking any meds and even mild turbulence sets in, I have an immediate physiological response, heart hammers in my chest, hands/lips go numb and start tingling, the top of my head starts tingling, shortness of breath, etc. Even though I *know* in my head that what I'm experiencing isn't bad at all, my body has a mind of it's own. I find that when I take 2 xanax prior to my flights, I can experience turbulence and not have the physical symptoms of my anxiety set in. I'm still aware and not doped up by any means, I don't even feel drowsy, I just don't have outright panic attacks.
 
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