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Thread: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  1. #1
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    Default Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

    This is an explanation of Generalized Anxiety Disorder taken from Wikipedia. Sound familiar when you're flying?

    Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things, which is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically catastrophise, anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, family problems, friend problems or work difficulties.[1] They often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, insomnia, and hot flashes. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced. [1] Approximately 6.8 million American adults experience GAD, which affects about twice as many women as men.[2]

  2. #2
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    If your flying, isn't it specific?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1fearfulflyer View Post
    This is an explanation of Generalized Anxiety Disorder taken from Wikipedia. Sound familiar when you're flying?
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  3. #3
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    I know before I started to get over my flying issues, it was just one of many things that I would have control issues with. Flying might be a piece of cake now, but I am still a hypochondriac. One might think that their own health is under their control, but it is quite amazing what conditions you can come up with after googling a symptom. :-)

    So I imagine for many flying is one facit of a general overal state of anxiety.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tb_neg View Post
    If your flying, isn't it specific?
    Yes, fear of flying is specific but GAD can often be the culprit behind this fear. People with GAD are more prone to suffer from a variety of specific phobias. I guess I should have pointed out that the symptoms "catastrophising, anticipating disaster,etc." are what might sound familiar to people with aerophobia.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingpenguin78 View Post
    I know before I started to get over my flying issues, it was just one of many things that I would have control issues with. Flying might be a piece of cake now, but I am still a hypochondriac. One might think that their own health is under their control, but it is quite amazing what conditions you can come up with after googling a symptom. :-)

    So I imagine for many flying is one facit of a general overal state of anxiety.
    Exactly. For me, it is simply a loss of control. Believe it or not, I absolutely love the physics of flight and love being in the air. One of my first jobs was working ground operations at JFK airport and I remember sitting in awe at the sight of these aircraft taking off one after another.

    It's just that I know there isn't a 100% guarantee that everything will be okay. That's my irrational mind speaking because there's never a 100% guarantee. Somehow though, I'm able to deal with the lack of guarantee in other aspects of my life. Perhaps that's because I've just become so accustomed to them. If I flew every day like I drive every day, perhaps I wouldn't have this problem.


    I don't think it's about the flying

  6. #6
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    I am a frequent flyer, who beginning this year has developed a very acute panic or anxiety during rough flights, and i fly about ten legs a month at least , as i live in an underserved city airline wise (always connecting from OKC).

    today i flew with my wife and co workers through Denver on Frontier to Bozeman, and had one of the most terrifying flights, probably the worst i have had, just out of Denver passing through clouds. We were on a prop, and it felt several times to several passengers like we were being tossed sideways and in very intense drops for a good ten minutes, then for the rest of the flight it was very sensitive.

    As i read this forum (done in a harrowed search in my deep breaths from terra firma), i am both comforted and worried for my own mental health. i feel that the control issue is major (driving is more dangerous but i'm in control), and the irrational fear of sudden plunging, of wings tearing off, of some air pocket jacking an engine, etc.-that fear is always present, but i flew very often for four years without feeling it one bit, and now it drives me nearly to sheer panic or shock. literally.

    but what is worse is that i know i am only entering some spiral of fear, and no one around me seemed to feel it more than some "fun turbulence" and all were smiles ...

    so, i hope to gain some more insight from you, fliers and pilots, on how to deal, and what the facts really are versus what my head makes up, because i am facing a long overseas romp in a few days...and i have to leave Bozeman...

  7. #7
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    Walrusmuse (funny name), I found that the following helped me the most...

    Taking flying lessons from my local airport. You really get to have a different concept of how aircraft work and flying in general when you are the pilot. It was a lot of fun, and very informative. You can generally get on a 'Discovery Flight' very affordably.

    Reading all about how turbulence works and how modern jets are designed, etc. Once you get it into your head how well designed aircraft are, and how they are built to survice pretty much anything Mother Nature can throw at them, you begin to realize that maybe the problem isn't the strength of the wings or how fast your are flying but it is something in your head.

    You also have to realize you experienced some bad turbulence in a small aircraft in probably one of the most turbulent regions in the world. I think the rule of thumb for Denver is to expect moderate turbulence pretty much anytime you take/land there. Calgary is quite the same, often you will get thrown around by the Chinooks in the winter.

    Most importantly, you internalize that everything you do involves risk. Flying is probably one of the least risky of any day to day activity you would be involved with.

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