Yes, I will explain anxiety while driving. Fear of driving, or driving phobia, can be a specific phobia, where driving is avoided at all costs. If you are somehow in a situation where you need to drive, then driving is endured with severe anxiety, which may culminate in a panic attack.
Not much research has been done on driving phobia, so the validity, causes, and risk factors of this phobia are largely unknown. However, it is known that people who have severe motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are prone to developing a fear of driving. So if you have post traumatic stress disorder from an MVA, then your fear of driving is a traumatic response to the MVA. If you have driving phobia associated with PTSD from an MVA, then your driving phobia is your avoidant behaviors, to not have reminders of the traumatic car crash.
Another reason you may have a fear of driving is you may have panic attacks. These panic attacks may come at any time, and you may have anticipatory anxiety that the panic attack will return while you are driving. Or you might have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), as you may have a fear of running someone over. I treated a patient a few years ago who had OCD and a fear of driving. His obsession was that while he was driving, he thought he had run someone over. So to check that he didn’t run someone over, he would return to his previous path driven, and then retrace the detour path he had taken to check his previous path, and would repeat this checking where he would not be able to get to his destination. Because of these obsessions and compulsions, this patient was not able to drive.
Still, another reason you may have a fear of driving is that you may have agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of going into public, as escape may be difficult, or help is not available. So driving on the roads may be avoided due to the agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is also the fear of public places for fear of having a panic attack there, or that help for the panic attack will not be available.
If the fear of driving is not based on an anxiety disorder, then it could be attributed to having low skills as a driver (i.e. just starting out and learning to drive). In this scenario, you may feel the risks of driving (i.e. car accidents) are inevitable if you do not possess the driving skills and experience.
Leave a Reply