The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles staff, led by Dr. Craig April (often known as the panic attack doctor), offers special help for those suffering with a fear of driving or driving anxiety. Because it is one of the most commonly treated phobias here at The April Center, we offer a variety of treatment options (including phone sessions) to help you overcome your fear of driving, as quickly as possible.
You CAN Go From This . . .
TO THIS . . .
Treating Fear of Driving and Driving Anxiety
Individual therapy and driving anxiety support groups are offered in our Los Angeles office location. We also offer driving anxiety treatment by phone throughout California (including San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Orange county, Riverside County, Fresno, Marin, San Bernardino, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, Ventura).
Because we're very aware of the lack of driving anxiety treatment specialists throughout the U.S., we offer phone sessions when appropriate to people all over the country (including Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Austin, Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, New Jersey, Boston, Philidelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Providence RI, and more). This has proven to be a very successful method in treating fear of driving.
List Of Commonly Treated Driving Anxiety Symptoms at The April Center:
Are you suffering with any of these symptoms?
1.) You often avoid driving outside of your comfort zone, which could be limited to an area around your neighborhood, a certain amount of mileage, specific roads, or simply driving on side streets while avoiding the freeway altogether.
2.) Your fear of driving seems to involve more than just the act of driving and can include a fear of losing control, a fear of passing out, fear of being trapped on a road or freeway with no quick escape, fear of hitting other cars or pedestrians, and more.
3.) When you are driving or anticipating driving, you often experience a great degree of anxiety, which includes physical symptoms such as, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, breathing struggles, shaking and trembling, sweating, nausea, tingling of the hands, and many more.
4.) You often create excuses in order to avoid specific situations where you would be forced to drive.
5.) You have (or fear having) panic attacks and anxiety attacks while driving, which may involve many of the above physical symptoms and the feeling that you may lose control of yourself, the car and sometimes reality.
6.) You fear that when driving you may cause an accident that brings harm to you and others.
7.) You experience anticipatory anxiety and are scared days or weeks before a scheduled time where you know you'll be expected to drive.
8.) You often depend on others to drive you where you need to go with a reduced ability to take care of your life on your terms.
9.) Your ability to truly live free and roam has decreased due to the lack of freedom that your driving fear and anxiety have created.
(*If any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you, then you most likely have a fear that requires The April Center's specialized driving anxiety treatment program.)
We Design Our Fear Of Driving Program To Fit Your Needs, Specific Driving Anxiety Symptoms and Budget. Our Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Treatment Plans may Include:
1.) Individual therapy sessions
2.) Support Groups
3.) Scheduled Phone Sessions - For those who live a far distance from The April Center or currently feel unable to drive to the office
4.) Fear of driving exposure sessions with Dr. April in the car helping you cope while coaching you as you gradually face your fear
*We have an extremely high success rate at The April Center with our Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy approach (Follow this link for more on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. And click here for some of our success stories. )
Follow this link to take a look at our post on the most common ways in which a fear of driving can develop.
Follow this link to check out our new infographic called "The Anxiety Cycle On A Bicycle" for an illustration on the development of a phobia, anxiety disorder or fear.
*Driving anxiety does not go away on its own and the more you avoid driving, the more long-lasting and severe your fear can become.
If you fear driving, trust that it can be overcome with the proper help and treatment.
Call 310-429-1024 (Los Angeles office) NOW to schedule your appointment today!
The April Center now offers -
Two office locations:
- Los Angeles
- The South Bay (serving Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance and El Segundo)
The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management is committed to helping you remove the destructive barriers of fear of driving and driving anxiety, so that you may lead a calmer, healthier, happier life.
Driving Anxiety Advice: Seek an expert!
I recently reviewed multiple sites and read many articles online written by former driving anxiety sufferers. Many even have their own programs and websites offering their help to those with driving anxiety.
After reading these articles and exploring many of these programs, I have come to the conclusion that it is often like “the blind leading the blind”! These articles are filled with the wrong information and incorrect advice on how to beat driving anxiety.
WHY WOULD ANYONE GO TO A NON-EXPERT?
Why seek help from someone who has no experience in treating anxiety and no training? Is it simply because those with a driving phobia are looking for anyone who might understand what it’s like to fear driving? Perhaps. However, that is the wrong path.
I can tell you that we’ve treated hundreds and hundreds of driving anxiety cases at The April Center. We’ve successfully treated them with scientifically proven strategies and, therefore, we absolutely understand what it’s like for those with this fear. And, more importantly, our trained specialists know exactly how to treat it.
DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME
Don’t waste your time on programs that are offered by non-specialists and non-experts! Over the many years we’ve been treating this fear, people have come to The April Center after working with nonexperts, nonspecialists and even therapists who don’t truly specialize in anxiety disorders and shared their lack of progress after much time and money spent with non-experts.
To overcome your driving phobia, you simply must seek an anxiety doctor. A trained professional and specialist in the area of anxiety disorders. When you have a specific medical problem, you go to a specialist for that issue, not your family doctor.
THE WRONG ADVICE
Here are just a few examples of the wrong advice I read online about overcoming driving anxiety written by non-experts and non-specialists (and even therapists) who aren’t experts in the field of anxiety disorders.
1. Take along a friend
This is not recommended. Because eventually you’re going to have to drive alone anyway. So, you’re just prolonging your fear and creating a dependence on another person when you’re driving. This is not driving freedom. This is like only riding a bike with training wheels or only wearing water wings in the pool without ever taking them off and swimming freely.
This will not help your fear of driving. At The April Center we have tools and strategies designed to help you learn to drive on your own. We do this gradually and do not throw you in the proverbial deep end. Our work is done at the pace you desire.
2. Drive under the speed limit
Driving under the speed limit is not a helpful ongoing strategy. If it’s homework designed to start slow and build, so that you’re eventually facing the speed limit you fear, it could have benefit. However, to overcome fear of driving one must at least drive the speed limit on the highway and freeway. There are tools and strategies that can help the driving anxiety sufferer achieve this. Again, the proper help is what is required.
3. Only stay in the right lane on the highway or freeway:
Again, this is not a helpful strategy in and of itself. Why? Because it is avoidant. Any behavior that is designed to help you avoid facing your driving anxiety is going to backfire and, at the very least, maintain and reinforce your fear of driving. It could, however, be a beginning strategy as you work your way over to the left lane on a gradual basis with the tools and strategies that you’re being taught by a specialist, such as here at The April Center.
4. Drive during light traffic hours or heavy traffic hours to manage your fear:
Please refer to the response in number 3 above. Same issue. This is avoidant. Could be a beginning strategy, but is not going to help you overcome your driving phobia.
5. Take medication
Medication for a driving phobia or fear of driving is not going to work. At least not for helping you overcome your specific driving anxiety. Some medications may reduce one's anxiety intensity. Unfortunately, many psychiatrists and family doctors prescribe medication that is addictive and only worsens the problem, while creating a dependence. No medication can help one overcome fear. The only way to overcome fear is to face it with the proper tools and strategies provided by an anxiety treatment specialist.
6. Take driving classes with driving instructors
Once again, you need someone trained in treating anxiety disorders. An anxiety treatment specialist. Someone who understands all the nuances of an anxiety issue and has vast experience and education treating this issue. A driving instructor does not have this specialized knowledge. Therefore, you’re most likely wasting your time and prolonging you’re driving phobia.
7. Start taking the subway or a bus
Again, this is truly avoidant. Please refer to responses in number three and number four above.
8. Do hypnosis
Hypnosis is useful for a number of issues. Unfortunately, despite some hypnotherapist’s advertising, it’s not helpful for treating anxiety disorders. I am not saying this because I’m competing with hypnotherapists. Quite frankly, if I observed that hypnotherapy works for treating anxiety disorders, I would have sought training in it. Unfortunately, although hypnosis has been shown to help with self-esteem, smoking cessation, weight loss and some other issues, it simply doesn’t help people overcome fear of driving or anxiety disorders like phobias, OCD and panic attacks.
*We encourage you to seek our help by contacting us at 310-429-1024 now. Ultimately, you’ll save time and money. And, most importantly, make progress to overcome your driving anxiety!
A quick note on freeway driving anxiety:
Fear of driving on freeways is a common phobia, especially if you live in Los Angeles where freeway driving is needed to live a full life! But be hopeful. Freeway driving anxiety is highly treatable. You can regain confidence and get back behind the wheel!
Fear of driving on the freeway can be created by a variety of experiences. Some suffer freeway driving phobia after being in a car accident. Others develop it after observing an accident. And others develop this fear without experiencing or witnessing any accident at all. Anxiety and the development of a phobia can occur when we feel a loss of control. And we then seek to avoid that which creates discomfort.
Typically, those who struggle with this fear can drive semi-comfortably on side streets, but can't bring themselves to get on the freeway. This is especially true if a perceived difficulty getting off the freeway is experienced while driving and anxious. A common anxiety focus tends to be fear of fast speeds and fear of freeway panic. Many sufferers have had panic attacks on the freeway.
How does one get rid of a freeway driving phobia? Seeking treatment from a qualified anxiety specialist is the key. The only proven method for treating freeway driving anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy. A licensed anxiety doctor can teach you tools and provide strategies, so that you may begin to reduce your fear of driving on the freeway. In addition, the anxiety treatment specialist will gradually expose you to what you fear, in addition to helping you manage panic and anxiety.
Afraid of Freeway Merging?
Anxiety over freeway merging is a common symptom when it comes to fear of driving. For those with driving anxiety, merging onto the freeway or from one freeway to another can be difficult and trigger several fears, such as:
1. The speed of other drivers. Fear can be triggered when the end of the on ramp arrives and you’re now merging and expected to drive at the same speed others are driving.
2. The size of the gap between cars that you must find a place to enter. Fear can be triggered when searching for a safe and comfortable spot to enter between cars. You might question whether the space between cars is large enough for you to enter without cutting them off and without hitting them or them hitting you.
3. Switching and adapting to another freeway. Fear can be triggered when you must change freeways after finding comfort on the freeway you’ve been driving. Also, anxiety can rise because you must pay attention to the correct freeway lane in which to make the transfer at the same time you’re focusing on driving at an appropriate speed.
4. Aggressive drivers. Sometimes drivers speed up to avoid getting stuck behind a slower merging driver. This can be challenging for those who fear driving to properly gage when to merge, due to fear of not finding enough space or any at all.
5. Waiting too long. Anxiety can be triggered when merging is a struggle, due to traffic or the speed of other drivers. Especially when you’re approaching the end of the lane where one can get on the freeway.
6. The mood of other drivers. Some people with driving fear become anxious when other drivers wave them into a lane or, conversely, when other drivers are clearly unhappy with their performance and show it in ways that we’re all unfortunately familiar!
Follow the link for more information on therapy for anxiety