Experts say weekend plane crashes may trigger flying fears

Although air travel experts maintain flying has never been safer, the fear of flying is quite common

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - Images of the charred remains of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sends chills across the world.

It may also be triggering flying fears.

It's estimated nearly one in three Americans is either anxious about flying or afraid to fly.

Women are twice as likely as men to have that fear.

Even hearing that you're 70 times more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash brings little consolation to many, especially after two deadly crashes over the weekend.

On Saturday, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed on a San Francisco runway killing two and injuring 181 others.

Then on Sunday, an air taxi crashed in Alaska killing all 10 on board.

Although air travel experts maintain flying has never been safer, the fear of flying is quite common.

Jessica Calleo, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine.

She told Local 2, "It becomes a problem when it starts interfering with the life that you want to live."

Dr. Calleo says people may experience extreme anxiety at the thought of boarding an airplane.

Their heart races, blood pressure pumping and they may sweat profusely or feel dizzy.

Still, Dr. Calleo says avoidance is not the answer.

She said, "Unfortunately when you avoid a situation that you're fearful of, your anxiety is maintained and can even intensify each time."

Calleo uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients put their fears into proportion by understanding that despite what makes headlines, your risk of dying in a plane crash is about one in 45 million flights.

She added, "So you learn different ways to calm yourself to focus on something else besides your anxious thoughts or you may learn ways to help relax yourself to manage those physical signs of anxiety."

Dr. Calleo also warns against taking anti-anxiety medications.

She says that it's only a temporary solution, not as effective as behavior treatment.

Depending upon your provider, behavioral cognitive therapy may be covered by some insurance companies.

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