Driving anxiety often has little to do with the act of driving an automobile, but for some people, driving simply revs up the anxiety that is already there, especially under specific situations.
Anxiety comes in various severities . The people I am attempting to connect with here are those whose anxiety has become disruptive to their desire to drive an automobile. Let's start with this question: Can you tell the difference between feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and excitement? If you are not sure, see anxiety quiz for some stress relief.
I have encountered many driving manifestations of anxiety. Many of these same people are perfectly normal, ( For example, they often already have a drivers license.) except under these conditions: highway, bridges, left turns at intersections, lane changing, and sometimes being in a motor vehicle that they are not operating.
Many people with severe driving anxiety are unable to even enter the car under the understanding that they will be driving it. It is not unusual for someone suffering from anxiety to go for a road test and not able to start the test. Some people have been so overcome by anxiety after failing a road test that they were unable to exit the vehicle after a half hour of crying and convulsions. If the above applies to you then your sense of control and ability to cope with the situation determines which feeling gets expressed..
Anxiety can also include a condition known as dyspnea - a subjective experience of breathlessness or air hunger in which a person is consciously aware of difficulty with breathing. This severe distress often requires an oxygen mask to be placed by emergency personnel. Dyspnea (hypoxemia) can become acute due to issues with airway or lung such as tumor. But because the person may be anxious, use of the oxygen mask may increase the condition due to feelings of claustrophobia.
In less severe anxiety the driver is willing to begin driving but soon thereafter - about 15 minutes begins to exhibit withdrawals in the form of sweating, shaking, crying, slowing to unsafe speeds, breathing heavily and wanting to urinate or throw up.
Why does your body react against your will in such a manner? There are two triggers: one, you inherited it, and two, a traumatic life event. Inherited anxiety sufferers may have been over exposed too frequently to these irrational fight or flight hormones in the womb. These hormones have preprogrammed the genes to over react to normal stress, (the effects seen above) making your attempts to overcome driving anxiety extremely difficult.
In most cases, it is not possible to overcome these driving anxiety issues by simply taking a driving lesson to see how it feels. You would typically need several lessons of pushing yourself above and beyond your own comfort level with a trusted driving instructor encouraging you to carry on. The desire to stop driving or terminate the effort can leave you feeling exhausted, because the feeling is so overwhelming - it's almost like you are not in control of what is happening within you. More...