Thursday, May 6, 2004
What Would You Do: Fear Of Flying
Tonight, we continue to look at how to overcome our greatest phobias. For many people, topping the list - Fear of Flying. So What Would You Do if you have to travel somewhere and a car or train isn't an option? Here's 7 Charles Perez with the answer.
(WSVN) -- From terrorism... to plane crashes...
For many people, the friendly skies can be a very frightening place...
"It used to be that I wouldn't sleep," says Vicki Rabaza. "I wouldn't sleep for maybe two weeks before."
A fear of flying not only kept Vicki from getting on a plane, it kept her from getting on with her life.
"There were a lot of jobs that required continuous travel, and I would just not go that route," she says. "I would look for jobs that included little travel or no travel at all."
Let's face it, almost everyone has some butterflies about flying. But what do you do when you're like Vicki and the anxiety is so bad it prevents you from getting on a plane?
"What am I really afraid of?" she says. "Is this a feeling instead of a fact?"
Dr. Richard Toister says people need to know they're more likely to die in a car accident that on a plane.
For mild cases, he recommends taking deep breaths when you get onboard and trying to distract yourself.
"That's why airlines like you to watch TV or listen to sounds from the program," says Dr. Toister.
If that doesn't work, Dr. Toister and his partner, Dr. Mark Frazier, offer virtual reality.
"What the person sees through the head-mounted display is what the passenger sees as they sit in their seat," says Dr. Frazier.
The program takes you through the entire flight from take-off to landing.
"You can hear right now the background," says Dr. Frazier. "Sort of the engines as they're preparations for take off."
You can look at the overhead controls and out the window.
"They get absorbed in their own feelings," says Dr. Frazier.
Dr. Frazier can even simulate in flight trouble.
"This is the captain speaking," announce speakers within the machine. "I have just been notified by the national weather service... "
Not only does everything look real and sound real; it also feels real because the floor is moving.
"We can create a thunderstorm, lightening with various things to give them exposure to that so they get a chance to encounter and reduce their anxieties or fears," says the doctor.
But the key is the patient is always in control.
"At any time if they want to ... it can be stopped," says Dr. Frazier.
It worked for Vicki. She can now fly without too much anxiety.
"Life can change in an instant, and you shouldn't really waste time with phobias," she sys. "You should confront it and try to get through it and move on with your life.
Next week, it's actually a very common phobia here in South Florida.
Charles is going to show us how to get over a fear of drowning.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Virtual Therapy Associates:
Dr. Richard Toister
Dr. Mark Fraizer