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Hi, I am new to this forum. I have had a terrible fear of driving a car since I was 18 years old. I forced myself to take the car test and passed third time. I begin the fear when ever I know I have to drive the car. It progresses from fear to nausea and running to the loo, so I tried drugs to calm me down. They didn’t work. My legs shake so much it is hard to use the pedals and I sweat and feel so ill. What is wrong with me? Do I have some disorder?

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Hello and welcome. It seems as though you are suffering acute anxiety about car driving, so there are two things I would suggest: either find a good hypnotherapy, which should be able to help you, or find a good de-stress/anxiety hypnosis tape. You can find them even here on the internet. Am sorry I am not a doctor so I can’t help you more, but I have heard that this can be effective with problems like yours.
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My name is Maggie and I am a 23 year old college graduate with a BA in Business Communication. The reason why I feel I have to address my title is partially due to the fact that I personally think my fear of driving is insane, and I'm scared that other people will think so as well. I have never experienced any type of emotional problems such as depression or phobia. I've always been a very happy and confidant human being. I've been driving since I received my license when I was 16 years old. I never had any problems or apprehensions about driving. Three months ago I was driving my car and out of nowhere I started feeling like there wasn't enough air in my car. I rolled all of my windows down, but that only caused me to feel extremely uneasy. My heart started pounding, my hands started to get clammy, I was overwhelmed with a hot sensation, and a fear that I was not going to be okay. The truth is these feelings caused me to think I was going to die. I pulled over and got out of my car, and I thought I was going to be fine. I got back into my car and started to drive again, but all my symptoms came back full force. I found myself in a state of utter fear and complete helplessness. I couldn't concentrate and everything, especially time felt like it was racing 1000 miles per hour. I pulled over and collapsed from all of my confusion. I called 911 because I seriously thought I was dieing. When the paramedics arrived my heart beat was over 200. Once I arrived at the hospital I felt safe because I knew that I had people around me that could help me if anything was to occur. When they checked my pulse again it was down to 95. The doctors told me that it was exhaustion, too much caffeine, and a lack of sleep and nutrition. I didn't want to say anything but this was not the first time I drank a lot of caffeine and didn't get sleep and or nutrition. Hell, the amount of caffeine I drank that day was normal for me and I have gone with less sleep in the past. I presumed they were correct, but I found myself in the same situation two weeks later. I was driving and the same symptoms happened again. This time I went to the hospital again and the doctor told me I was experiencing a massive anxiety attack that was causing my heart rate to sky rocket. Ever since I found out that it was an anxiety attack I've been so scared of experiencing it again. I went to a therapist once were I learned how to semi-calm myself down. The truth is I'm not calm though, all I learned how to do is recognize my symptoms and know that I'm not truly going to die. This helps to make me feel a little better because I know it's psychological and not truly life threatening. That's nice and all but this does not help rid my anxiety. I dread the thought of driving. I drive but only when I have to. When I do drive I'm extremely tense and on the verge of an anxiety attack. Sometimes I have to pull over because I end up getting an anxiety attack. I'm completely miserable, I don't want to feel like this anymore. I was perfectly normal before and now I feel like I've lost control of my life. I just don't feel at ease when I'm in the car. All I want to do is get to my destination and stay there. When I'm driving I literally sum up in my head how much time I have left before I get to my destination. The mere thought of having to drive makes me feel anxious and uneasy. I even cry at times when I'm in the car or when I finally get out of my car. I'm so frustrated and confused. I'm scared that this will never go away. I'm afraid that I will feel like this for the rest of my life. My mother is the only person that knows I'm so scared of driving because I don't want to tell anyone for the fear that they will see me as crazy or unstable. I try telling myself "breathe, you're fine, there is nothing wrong, you'll be okay" but it really doesn't help. The last week has been the the worst, I guess I can describe it as hell. My friend committed suicide and my fear of dieing has tripled. I think I've finally realized that I'm human and that anything can happen on the drop of a dime. If anyone has any advice or suggestions please let me know. I feel like I do not have control while I'm driving, or even when I think about driving. I'm so desperate that I'm willing to even give my e-mail out in chance that someone will have some constructive advice. I love my life and I want to feel like I'm in control again, and I have no idea what to do. Please write in if you have any suggestions.

Thank you for listening!
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Guest: Have you seen any improvement since your post and how? Your post is identical to what I'm experiencing, except I'm 30 years old. My symptoms started two months ago and I was perfectly able to drive before then. Now this issue has consumed my whole life...I wasn't anxious or depressed before but I am now! I actually just came off of one of the best years of my life and I don't understand where this came from or how to fix it.
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Hi All,
Even i was afraid to drive cars.My friends drive really well and they told me that initially they were also feeling really scared to drive but as they learn and practiced they overcame this fear...initially my husband taught me and he gets tensed whenever i dont apply brakes or switch on indicator or look behind the mirror..so he stopped teaching n we went to an instructor who is an ex-military man n i drove well and got my license.now i drive quite well but still changing lanes and my judgment skills r not good enough,...i still dont have the confidence to drive alone.maybe i'll improve over time.i still dont take my car out during peak traffic hours,...dont know how iam going to drive alone once i get a job,....so for all of u out thr who r nervous abt driving...relax,be patient n make sure u drive in the night-less traffic hours each day...tht should solve ur problems...all d best...
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I am reading your posts and I the same is happening to me. I believe that I am a normal person with a balanced life. I am also graduated and happily married and a nice job, and since a couple of years, every time I have to drive, I panic. I feel like the car is going to fall, which it is irrational. I drive quite slowly and a lot of people overpass me on the streets.... how can I get over this feeling. I know everything is on my mind.
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im a 27 year old guy from california. i've read the postings on this forum, and the difference with me is that i havent really driven that much at all. i've never gotten my drivers license, and i've only driven about 2 times in my life for about 30 mins each time. i get so tense that i dont really remember driving. my fear has really put a hold on my life. i'm also afraid of what people might think of me because of this. My partner, and mother are the only ones that know this about me, everyone else just wonders why i dont drive. I am also afraid that my partner might get tired of driving me around, and end up leaving me. I am so drepressed about this. I feel so frustrated especially when waiting for the bus and watching all the people pass by in their cars. From there comes anger, and all other feelings that come along like a domino effect. I am planning on buying an old cheap car and driving it around to get used to it. iI just wish to have the courage to actually get on it and drive it. hopefully the thought of knowing that it's mine and that is old would make it easier. feels good to know that there are people out there with this problem. I would love to hear about the progress of the people on this site, maybe reading about experiences will help me with my progress. I would also like to hear about people like me that haven't really driven.
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I have actually only driven 3 times since I turned 16,I don't know why I have this overwhelming fear of getting behind the wheel.Sometimes I think my family passed it down to me,2 of my aunts didn't get their licenses utnil mid 30's and my grandma NEVER got hers at all.It is so embarrasing telling people that i don;t drive,and then they ask why and i don't really have a definitive answer for them.It's really hard on me sometimes due to the fact that I have 3 boys to get around all over the place....without a license I depend mainly on my husband and friends.But I am starting to feel like SUCH A HUGE BURDEN and I hate it.
:'(
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Hi there!

I'm a 29 year old male, and to be frank, I have the same problem but with a little difference. I've overcomed on my fear but since my father passed away, the fear has came back more than ever! For months I became a car racer in the streets or highways and never got even a single scratch on my car, but now I really can't control my car! I put a lot of pressure on myself to do what I did before but I just can't do well and it pains like hell. This fear and disability has filled my mind very much and now it effected my whole life but the sad story is how much I try to do it right, it gets worse every day...

If any of you are interested, I leave my Y!MSG ID to have a conversation together, may this helps us all.

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Im a 35 year old girl from Massachusetts. I'm glad to know i'm not the only one who has a fear of driving. I never liked to drive but I did it. About 4 years ago I stared to get really scared driving on the highway and about 6 months afetr that I stopped. Then just driving in general freaked me out. I have such anxiety about about an hour before I know I have to drive I start getting wicked anxiety and almost make myself sick. I never drive at night I only drive where I have to and if you add snow or rain to the driving I get even more anxiety. I've tried taking anxiey pills but it does not help the driving at all. I will be driving down the road and I see someone coming out of a side street and I'm so sure they are going to just coming driving right and to me so I slam on my brakes. It really puts a huge restriction on my life and I HATE IT!!!
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Hi. I have been driving frequently and safely for over 30 years and am suddenly afflicted like your other writers. I feel that I am about to lose control of the car and keep slamming the breaks on as soon as I go faster than 20mph. I've tried hypnotherapy and my GP has now put me on beta blockers for anxiety. Please has anyone actually overcome this? I have to drive for my job, and at present simply cannot.
Buzz.
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I wanted to chime in on this as I have recently had extreme anxiety over driving as well after an attack of vertigo (BPPV). I have had panic attacks and anxiety my whole adult life and have always coped and drove (except on fast freeways etc.) until now, I just can't seem to shake the fear and anxiety!! I wanted to mention to folks that there is some school of thought that inner ear disturbances are behind all of this driving stuff. It is a very interesting theory because our vestibular system is what controls all of this awareness of movement and makes us feel safe in our environment.
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Oh my goodness. I have suffered from this driving fear for years! Thought I was the only one! I'm now 42, but it started forever ago. When I was 14, I had my first panic attack. I was in a car, not driving, just in the car. Later, when I got my license, I did ok until I had a panic attack while driving. Had to pull over, it was awful! After that, I went years with limited driving capabilities. It was like I could go certain places, but not others. The highway was out of the question! I would drive so far out of my way just to avoid the highway. I adjusted to this ok, but going anywhere new was difficult. I would have to get out a map before going and literally plan my route. The hardest part was back then, there was not really a diagnosis for anxiety disorder like there is now. My family and friends did not understand my condition. Later, at least I was able to be diagnosed properly, and tried medication. It helped, but boy were there bumps in that road! Now, so many years later, I'm still terrified of the highway. I have come to the realization that it is possible to take too much medication and feel worse that the original condition. Please do not ever NOT take your medicine without doctors orders just because of another persons post, but I really believe that the anxiety, while chemical and physical, is caused by trauma in younger life. Medicating without getting to the cause of the problem will never solve it. Like putting a band aid on a gaping wound, the wound will never really heal. I'm phasing off the benzo medication because it made me loopy. Klonopin. Just taking Paxil now, and it's going ok. Anyone else have to stop taking Klonopin? I was on a very low dose of Ativan before this, but still had anxiety. The medicines made the anxiety worse, in my opinion. Looking forward to hearing others opinions. Also, has anyone been able to OVERCOME the fear of driving????
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anonymous wrote:

My name is Maggie and I am a 23 year old college graduate with a BA in Business Communication. The reason why I feel I have to address my title is partially due to the fact that I personally think my fear of driving is insane, and I'm scared that other people will think so as well. I have never experienced any type of emotional problems such as depression or phobia. I've always been a very happy and confidant human being. I've been driving since I received my license when I was 16 years old. I never had any problems or apprehensions about driving. Three months ago I was driving my car and out of nowhere I started feeling like there wasn't enough air in my car. I rolled all of my windows down, but that only caused me to feel extremely uneasy. My heart started pounding, my hands started to get clammy, I was overwhelmed with a hot sensation, and a fear that I was not going to be okay. The truth is these feelings caused me to think I was going to die. I pulled over and got out of my car, and I thought I was going to be fine. I got back into my car and started to drive again, but all my symptoms came back full force. I found myself in a state of utter fear and complete helplessness. I couldn't concentrate and everything, especially time felt like it was racing 1000 miles per hour. I pulled over and collapsed from all of my confusion. I called 911 because I seriously thought I was dieing. When the paramedics arrived my heart beat was over 200. Once I arrived at the hospital I felt safe because I knew that I had people around me that could help me if anything was to occur. When they checked my pulse again it was down to 95. The doctors told me that it was exhaustion, too much caffeine, and a lack of sleep and nutrition. I didn't want to say anything but this was not the first time I drank a lot of caffeine and didn't get sleep and or nutrition. Hell, the amount of caffeine I drank that day was normal for me and I have gone with less sleep in the past. I presumed they were correct, but I found myself in the same situation two weeks later. I was driving and the same symptoms happened again. This time I went to the hospital again and the doctor told me I was experiencing a massive anxiety attack that was causing my heart rate to sky rocket. Ever since I found out that it was an anxiety attack I've been so scared of experiencing it again. I went to a therapist once were I learned how to semi-calm myself down. The truth is I'm not calm though, all I learned how to do is recognize my symptoms and know that I'm not truly going to die. This helps to make me feel a little better because I know it's psychological and not truly life threatening. That's nice and all but this does not help rid my anxiety. I dread the thought of driving. I drive but only when I have to. When I do drive I'm extremely tense and on the verge of an anxiety attack. Sometimes I have to pull over because I end up getting an anxiety attack. I'm completely miserable, I don't want to feel like this anymore. I was perfectly normal before and now I feel like I've lost control of my life. I just don't feel at ease when I'm in the car. All I want to do is get to my destination and stay there. When I'm driving I literally sum up in my head how much time I have left before I get to my destination. The mere thought of having to drive makes me feel anxious and uneasy. I even cry at times when I'm in the car or when I finally get out of my car. I'm so frustrated and confused. I'm scared that this will never go away. I'm afraid that I will feel like this for the rest of my life. My mother is the only person that knows I'm so scared of driving because I don't want to tell anyone for the fear that they will see me as crazy or unstable. I try telling myself "breathe, you're fine, there is nothing wrong, you'll be okay" but it really doesn't help. The last week has been the the worst, I guess I can describe it as hell. My friend committed Sui.. and my fear of dieing has tripled. I think I've finally realized that I'm human and that anything can happen on the drop of a dime. If anyone has any advice or suggestions please let me know. I feel like I do not have control while I'm driving, or even when I think about driving. I'm so desperate that I'm willing to even give my e-mail out in chance that someone will have some constructive advice. I love my life and I want to feel like I'm in control again, and I have no idea what to do. Please write in if you have any suggestions.

Thank you for listening!




Hi maggie, well what can i say im afraid of just getting on the highway, but im not afraid to die, i actually think positive in some way.
well i would drive sometimes when i was 15, till i turned 18. I was with my friend and shes a fast diver, well any ways she got distracted and she was so close to hitting a car in font of us, so i panict and yelled and every time i got in the car with her she would always get distracted and when i would get in the car with my mom, even if shed be going the limit id think she was going to fast and that the car up front would press brakes and id think my mom wouldnt have the chance to press her brakes and wreck into them because shed get to close..or id even be scared if my mom would get a little close to the car in the other lane and id be scared they wouldnt know we would be there and they would move into the same lane and wreck us.. so pretty much im just scared of wrecking r someone wrecking into me..so thats why i dont drive at all..but the only person tell u maggie that will help u if your scared to die, is "GOD" i know that hes the only person to help you with that kinde of thinking you have in your head.. if you have gods help you wont be afraid to die..thats my advice for you you can take it and try it because i know you will get help from that..but if you dont its ok but its never late for that jut know! :!: :wink:
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I'm pleased I have found this forum!, though I am ok, I do struggle with new places alittle and end up going round in circles, ended up on the motorway several times (by default!). It's been about a year now. The first time I got in the car after passing my test, my leg was shaking so much with fear. My legs don't shake now. I look around as much as I can when manoevouring. Try to think positively and well in advance. I don't travel long distances, I do what I can.

One thing that helps me; I've always been afraid of a particular roundabout and the lanes leading up to it, in the rush hour traffic, though recently one of my work friends' father passed away, my friend at work wanted to drop round flowers. I offered to go with her to deliver them and go to the main shopping centre leading off of the roundabout, while she drove her car, so I was a passenger.

I helped her a little with directions, as I knew the area, though when 'I' am driving I don't navigate the roundabout 'right' turns, I just turn left if I need to get home, as I find it easier than going to the shopping centre (where I would need to change lanes) in heavy traffic.

Looking at the area as a passenger seemed less daunting, and I thought carefully how I would change lanes here if I were driving the same route. This helped me visual how I would drive the route myself.

I feel that I might be able to work the route in my own car in the future. If though, I thought it to be dangerous, I would just park nearby and walk up. This way I am giving myself more options, if I find the route too difficult. I often complain to my family that I struggle with directions. I accept this, and although this interfers with the amount of places I travel to by car, I don't feel this is anything to be ashamed of.
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