Expert: The fear of driving over bridges is a real phobia – how to manage it

THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US. IM FELICIA RODRIGUEZ. I’m TODD MCDERMOTT. IF YOU’RE SCARED OF DRIVING OVER A BRIDGE, ANY BRIDGE, A TERRITORIAL ACCIDENT LIKE THIS MAY MAKE YOU CONSIDER NEVER DRIVE THAT AGAIN. AND IF YOU’RE SCARED OF DRIVING OVER BRIDGES, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. IT IS ACTUALLY A KNOWN PHOBIA. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER TERRI PARKER TALKED TO AN EXPERT TO FIND OUT HOW HE MANAGES THIS ANXIETY. TERRI WRIGHT A BRIDGE HIGH OVER WATER IS A COMMON DECAY FOR MANY OF US TO EXPERIENCE A CERTAIN LEVEL OF FEAR, BUT FOR SOME PEOPLE, ITS WEAKNESS. IT IS A REAL CONDITION CALLED GEPHIROPHOBIA. LOOK AT A SCARY BRIDGE LIKE THIS COULD MAKE IT WORSE, BUT THERE ARE WAYS TO DEAL WITH IT. Although bridge collapses are relatively rare, the fear of such an experience is very real. SO REAL THAT SOME LONG, TALL BRIDGES OFFER A SERVICE THAT WILL PASS PANIC DRIVERS ACROSS THE BRIDGE, SOMETIMES CARRYING A DOZEN OR MORE RIDES A DAY FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER. IT’S THE FEAR OF PASSING THROUGH A HIGH PLACE. IT COULD BE A BRIDGE. IT COULD BE A METRO IN A METRO. IT’S NOT NECESSARILY HEIGHT RELATED, BUT IT’S BASICALLY JUST IN A CONTROLLED SPACE THAT MAKES YOUR STOMACH FEEL FRIENDLY, YOU KNOW, HOW YOU WANT TO. AND YOUR MIND STARTS TO WANDER, LIKE, WHAT IF THIS FAILS? DOCTOR TERRI LYLE SAYS SOME PEOPLE EXPERIENCE PARALYZING PANIC AT THE THINKING THAT THE BALTIMORE BRIDGE COLLAPSE COULD SLOW. BUT BEING AFRAID TO CROSS ANOTHER BRIDGE BECAUSE THIS HAPPENED IS REALLY IRRATIONAL. FEAR BECAUSE YEARS AND YEARS IS THIS BRIDGE. SAYS LYLE. I COULD PANIC FOR ANYTHING BECAUSE AN ELEVATOR FAILS, A COLLECTING FLOOR, AN AIRBAG IN THE CAR. BUT TO DO SO WOULD ALSO BE IRRATIONAL, BECAUSE MOST ACCIDENTS LIKE THIS ARE RARE AND UNPREDICTABLE. HE RECOMMENDS A TECHNIQUE HE SAYS HE USES WITH FIGHTER AND RACE CAR DRIVERS, AND YOU CONTROL THAT NUMBER JUST BY BREATHING. IF YOU FEEL THAT ANXIETY IS COMING IN, SAY YOU ARE PREPARING TO CROSS A BRIDGE AND YOU START TO FEEL THIS FEAR OF WHAT IF? WHAT IF YOU TAKE 2 TO 3 BREATHS THROUGH YOUR NOSE, THROUGH YOUR MOUTH, UH, DEEPLY AND SLOWLY TO CALM YOURSELF. AND THEN THAT WILL OXYGENATE YOUR SYSTEM. THIS GIVES YOU A FEELING OF CALM AND MANY PSYCHOLOGISTS WILL USE EXPOSURE TRAINING COMBINED WITH THERAPY TO MAKE PEOPLE FEAR LIKE THIS. BUT LYLE SAYS THAT THE BREATHING METHOD HE JUST SHOWED YOU REALLY WORKS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU TELL YOURSELF THERE’S NOTHING TO FEAR.

Expert: The fear of driving over bridges is a real phobia – how to manage it

Although bridge collapses like the one on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore are relatively rare, the fear of such an experience is very real. So real that some long, high bridges like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge offer service that will send drivers into a panic. the bridge—sometimes carrying a dozen or more riders a day from one side to the other. It’s called gefirophobia. “It’s a fear of going through a high place. It could be a bridge, it could be a subway. It’s not necessarily height-related, but it’s basically just being in a controlled space that makes your stomach flutter. And your mind. starts to wonder, like, what if this fails?” said the psychologist Dr. Terry Lyles. Lyles says some people experience a real paralyzing panic at the thought and the collapse of the Baltimore bridge could make it worse.” I’ve been there for years and years,” Lyles said. Lyles says you could panic over any failure — an elevator, a roof collapse, an airbag in the car — but doing so would also be irrational because most accidents like this are rare. and unpredictable. He recommends a technique he says is used with fighter pilots and race car drivers. “If you feel that anxiety going on, let’s say you’re getting ready to cross the bridge and you start to feel that fear of what if? Take two or three breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth, take deep, slow breaths just to calm down -you and that will over-oxygenate you. That will give you a sense of calm,” Lyles explained. Some psychologists also use exposure therapy to first get people used to the idea of ​​going over a bridge and gradually work up to doing it. Top headlines: Stay up to date: The latest headlines and weather from WPBF 25 Get the latest news with the WPBF 25 News app. You can download it here.

Although bridge collapses like the one on Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge are relatively rare, the fear of such an experience is very real.

So real that some long, tall bridges like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge offer service that will drive panicked drivers across the bridge, sometimes ferrying a dozen or more motorists a day from one side to the other.

It’s called gefirophobia.

“It’s a fear of going through a high place. It could be a bridge, it could be a subway. It’s not necessarily height-related, but it’s basically just being in a controlled space that makes your stomach flutter. And your mind. starts to wonder, like, what if this fails?” said the psychologist Dr. Terry Lyles.

Lyles says some people experience real paralyzing panic at the thought, and that the Baltimore bridge collapse could make it worse.

“But to be afraid of going over another bridge because this happened is a really irrational fear, because that bridge has been there for years and years,” Lyles said.

Lyles says you could panic over any failure — an elevator, a roof collapse, an airbag in the car — but doing so would also be irrational because most accidents like this are rare and unpredictable.

He recommends a technique he says is used with fighter pilots and race car drivers.

“If you feel this anxiety going on, like say you’re getting ready to cross the bridge and you start to feel this fear of what if? Take two or three breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth, breathe in deeply and slowly just to calm down and that will oxygenate your system too much. That gives you a sense of calm,” Lyles explained.

Some psychologists also use exposure therapy to first get people used to the idea of ​​going over a bridge and gradually work up to actually doing it.

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