Fear of Vehicles

Most of us don’t think twice about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and driving away. We can climb on board a bus, plain, taxi or even boat and not suffer too much anxiety. However, those who experience increased anxiety because of a vehicle are said to have Ochophobia.

This fear can extend to simply being around a vehicle. Any vehicle in the mind of an ochophobe cannot be trusted and should therefore be feared. It could be a matter of the potential for harm, danger or vehicle failure at a high rate of speed, but whatever the fear origin it is something that remains strong in the minds and actions of the ochophobe.

The Causes of Ochophobia

Go back in time to view early attempts at flight or early automobiles. These vehicles (especially the airplanes) seemed to simply fall apart without warning. The Wright Brothers were extremely brave to keep trying even when these machines seemed destined for disintegration.

It isn’t too hard to understand that fear might develop if someone either experienced a pedestrian or vehicular accident involving a car. Vehicles are extremely powerful and large. Unlike humans they can’t respond to voice commands and can strike an individual without prejudice. At least it can seem this way to someone who lives with ochophobia.

The two primary sources of fear development apply here as well. In the first case an individual may have been personally involved in an accident involving a vehicle. In the second case small instances of fear were magnified by an older individual who lived with the fear.

There may actually be a third scenario in which a personal experience with a vehicular accident resulted in small fears, but were then enhanced by an adult who gave the accident more emphasis than was needed resulting in reoccurring anxiety resulting in long-term fear.

Symptoms of Ochophobia

An ochophobe will be more likely to walk than to ride in any vehicle, but they will also be very wary and anxious at intersections where they may feel powerless to control passing vehicles. This can leave the individual feeling as if they are losing their mind because they can’t concentrate on anything besides the vehicles they encounter.

Other symptoms include…

  • Trembling in the general proximity of a vehicle
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Air hunger
  • Elevated or irregular heartbeats
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Screaming

Many individuals who have this fear will resist or even refuse to go outdoors if there are vehicles present. It can almost seem to the ochophobe that the vehicles are real and exist to harm people. They may know this is irrational, but they can’t help believing it is true.

Overcoming Ochophobia

In order to overcome this fear you will need to go back to the thing that originally caused the fear. Was it an accident? Was it something you observed? Was it something you watched in a movie that caused your mind to obsess about the negative possibilities? Was it a newscast? The list can go on, but a therapist will need to know what caused this fear to start in order to help you come to terms with the fear and avoid its grip in the future.

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