Driving anxiety is ruining my life: What should I do?

Do you feel like driving anxiety is ruining your life? Are you plagued with worry each time you enter a car and begin driving? Do you automatically think about the worst-case scenarios each time you get into a vehicle? Is it interfering with your daily life and preventing you from getting to your destinations? If you experience any of these feelings, you may want to consider looking for treatment for your driving anxiety. Treatment can help you regain control over your anxiety.

Driving anxiety, also known as amaxophobia, is characterized by extreme fear or anxiety that occurs while inside a car, bus, or other similar types of vehicle. It can occur while a person is operating a vehicle or while they are a passenger in another person’s vehicle. If you’re someone who does experience driving anxiety, you’re not alone. A survey found that about 66% of people in the U.S. experience driving anxiety.

What are some of the symptoms of driving anxiety?

  • Heart racing.
  • Sweating.
  • Shaking.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Faintness.
  • Nausea.

These symptoms, while not an exhaustive list, are consistent with general anxiety symptoms and will usually be experienced before or during getting in a vehicle in the case of driving anxiety.

How can driving anxiety be managed?

If you feel like driving anxiety is ruining your life, it may be time to take a look at some of your options. Here are a few treatment methods that you can use to manage your anxiety:

  • Try to identify triggers — If your driving anxiety is starting to ruin your life, you may benefit from identifying possible triggers. If it’s not driving in general that causes you to have anxiety, but rather something like getting into an accident while switching lanes, you may be able to ease your anxiety by being extra watchful, especially before getting ready to switch lanes.
  • Practice mindfulness — Another strategy for managing driving anxiety is by practicing mindfulness. Being mindful of your environment and your bodily sensations can help you relax your body and potentially ease your physical anxiety symptoms.
  • Try exposure therapy — For some people, exposure therapy can help reduce anxiety around driving. If you feel like your anxiety on the road is starting to ruin your life, it might be getting worse through constant avoidance. Try practicing driving in environments where you feel safe, like an empty parking lot, and gradually exposing yourself to more high-stress driving environments over time.
  • Begin talk therapy — Talk therapy is another effective treatment option for many people. This type of therapy involves speaking with a qualified mental health professional who can help you uncover the root behind your driving anxiety, why you feel like it’s gotten to the point where it’s ruining your life, and steps toward easing that anxiety. Specifically, a process-based approach during therapy can help you make goals related to driving and help you work toward a unique outcome that works for you. 

Ultimately, you can try each of these treatment methods and see which proves most effective for you. You may benefit from trying several or all of them at the same time.

Lightfully wants to help you overcome your driving anxiety 

Our Lightfully team mission is to work with you to change your life compassionately. We strive to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients through a focused approach to process-based therapy. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. Lightfully offers various layers of service to both adults and teens through our residential, virtual, partial hospitalization (also called our Day Treatment programs), and intensive outpatient programs. We regularly see clients who actively manage mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and trauma disorders. If you feel like your life is being ruined by your driving anxiety, we believe we can help you.

Our licensed, clinical experts see each client as a complex and layered human – not just a diagnosis. We value our clients as they are and hope to enrich their lives through treatment. Our vision for the future is an authentic and loving community where everyone can be seen, heard, and valued as they are. We believe in the light within each individual, and when that light is properly nurtured it can allow a person to shine brighter than ever before.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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