How do I overcome my fear of driving on the freeway?

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I am 52 years old and feel somewhat inadequate. I used to drive on the freeway and traveled out of town often. Then suddenly, now, I have developed this phobia and will not get near a freeway. It is frustrating. I freeze when I get on the freeway. It is amazing to me. I was independent and now rely on someone to drive me long distance.

Please, give me some suggestions. I need to overcome this phobia. My doctors want to give me Prozac. I don't think is the answer.

Thanks.

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Sounds like a panic attack of sorts. I would suggest going out on a Sunday morning early and practicing driving the freeway. Get yourself re-acquainted with it. Put on some music, and pop a wad of gum in your mouth. Piece of cake!
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Godis. My suggestion is this, cause sometimes freeways freak me out now as I have gotten older. Seems when I was younger was not so freaked out by them and did longer distances by myself...but what I think would be a good practice for you like anything you learn to do is practice practice practice...remember the old adage practice makes perfect..and try this..get on the on ramp closest to your house and then take the next off ramp off back to your house or shopping or wherever...then take the next further and just do longer stretches..and soon getting use to the freeway slowly like that will get you reacquainted with it. In fact these days the freeway is scary cause people drive like freaks and inconsiderate hot rods and morons and idiots and rude cut offs etc..which would make anyone start to hate or freak out about freeways...Just take the slow lane and take it easy...you'll slowly gather up more tolerance to the freeway driving.
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GIB:

Doctors are prescribing you the Prozac to relieve the anxiety you're feeling, highways and freeways included. My take on this is that unless you address the underlying causes of your anxiety all you're going to be doing is mask -- and perpetuate -- the problem.

Any link I give you here will be labeled advertising and deleted by moderators. I did, however, borrow the following information from a website after typing searching under DRIVING ANXIETY:

"Perhaps you get get anxious when driving in traffic, on the highway, over bridges, or when far from home and outside your “comfort zone”. Regardless of what external condition or situation appears to be the cause of your anxiety while driving, ultimately, the TRUE cause is your negative and anxious thought patterns that have wrongly convinced you that anxiety is an appropriate response to what is occurring.

It is important to understand that anxiety is a reaction to a perceived threat, and when legitimate, serves a valuable purpose. For instance, if you were to be driving on icy roads at night, it would be appropriate for you to feel a small amount of anxiety and the physical reaction that comes with that anxiety would help protect you and keep you safe by keeping you alert and vigilant in a situation that demanded your focus and attention.

Anxiety in and of itself is not to blame or to be avoided, but the reaction of anxiety when unnecessary can be extremely damaging and disruptive. It’s important that you take note of the fact that anxiety is a REACTION to a perceived threat, NOT a threat in and of itself. Although the physical and psychological effects of anxiety can be frightening, anxiety does NOT cause you to lose control, die, or 'go crazy'."

There are institutes that help people overcome driving anxiety. There's no reason for you to keep suffering. And no reason why doctors should choose the path of least resistance and prolong your misery by prescribing pills that aren't going to work in the long run.

Bless you, and keep us posted.

-- ED
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Hi there

I have the same problem. Here are 5 Driving Tips that could be help you:

1. Use the time to quietly focus on your breathing as your car is warming up if you’re in a cold-weather area.
2. Listen to a stress release Cd - I am using “ Driving the enlightened way ” by Stephan Niemen at drivingphobia.net - and engage your senses within the experience—notice and release tension in your body, pay attention to the sights around you, hear the sounds of passing traffic.
3. Practice focusing on one thing at a time—your hands on the steering wheel, for example. Give it your complete attention. If your thoughts wander, come back to that one thing.
4. When you see a red light or a stop sign, smile at it because it’s helping you return to the present moment. It’s not the enemy—it’s a reminder to slow down and be where you are.
5. Visualize your car as a physical extension of yourself. This may help you feel more grounded in the moment, and it may also help you drive more safely and defensively.

Good luck and stay strong. You are not alone.
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I am so sorry to hear your story. Hang in there. There is always hope. Things can change for the better. No situation is impossible. God is always present in our lives He will give you the resources to do what it is needed.

God bless you.

Godsbeautiful
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I probably gave up on it too quickly at the time, but now I also cannot hang on to the steering wheel anymore, neuropathy in my hands and arms that the doctors can't seem to cure. I missed a lot of job opportunities earlier in my life and even lost jobs because I didn't drive. I suppose it is harder to not drive for someone who has driven before and had it taken away. I should have been more understanding with my mom and dad lost their ability to drive in their 80's.
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Thank you so much for your encouragement. I appreciate your sharing your story. So far, I have not lost my driving ability on the open road. Freeway is another story. I am confident that one day I'll overcome it. I'll continue to pray.

Godsbeautiful
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I had the same problem when trying to learn to drive. I did okay with in-town driving, but once I got up any speed at all I would get dizzy, panic and have to pull off the road. I decided to get my vision checked and go to my regular doctor. It turned out I had some medical issues (low blood sugar) and the eye doctor found that I had double vision and one image higher than the other and some other vision problems that limited my side vision. Another reason I was having problems driving was that I was taking medication for anxiety and depression. Have it checked out and be sure your vision is okay and make sure you don't have other health problems. Be careful about taking things like prozac or anti-anxiety meds, they might interefere with concentration when driving, and if you are out driving make sure you have snacks along to prevent low blood sugar attacks and avoid sugar. I never did go back to trying to driving again due to the vision problems. I now just depend on buses and family members to get me around town, it does kind of cramp my style, but it is better not to take the risk of driving and have an accident.
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Driving school is a great idea. Do you think they can deal with the fear factor I have? I get the chills even when my husband drives me on the freeway. It is chronic. Thanks so much for your input.

I know there is help out there for me. I won't give up.

Have a good day.
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I also hate freeways so usually use back roads but sometimes to am able to drive a short distance on a freeway which might be of help but I live in the country so back roads are available all the time it just takes a little longer to get places and it does not bother me that I use back roads everyone has something they fear if it impacts on your life maybe you could take a few lessons from a driving school so you can see it is possible for you to do this.
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