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Holidays Make Life Difficult For Those With Anxiety Disorders


December 2009, MADISON, WI., - As the holidays approach, for most people, itís a time of joy and excitement as we look forward to gathering with our friends and family to celebrate the season. But for a growing number of others, the season is a time of fear, anxiety, panic, and depression.

When asked to think of a holiday scene, most think of a family exchanging gifts, the roar of a cozy fire, and a happy family gathered around a bountiful table laughing and enjoying the feast. But what you donít see, what most take for granted, is how everyone arrived there. You probably didnít envision the drive over to Grandmaís or Mom and Dadís houseÖbut if youíre one of the many people suffering with a fear of driving, you most certainly did.

Fear of driving, or anxiety about a particular driving scenario such as driving on bridges or on the highway is a serious concern for many, and the increased travel requirements of the holidays fill what should be a happy time of the year with severe anxiety or even debilitating panic.

Driving for those with problematic fear may lead to panic attacks on the road, sudden, terrifying episodes of intense fear characterized by symptoms such as an increased heartbeat, profuse sweating, uncontrollable trembling, a choking sensation, fear of a loss of control, and other scary, irrational thoughts such as the fear of driving off the road, into oncoming traffic, or off a bridge.

Itís not uncommon for those with driving anxiety to avoid driving for years to avoid confronting their fear. The cost of avoidance is high - careers are put on hold, socializing is limited, and confidence is quickly eroded.

Fortunately, there is hope for those that suffer from a fear of driving. There are coping techniques that can be learned in a relatively short amount of time that can dramatically decrease the symptoms of the anxiety and restore confidence.

Rich Presta, author of the Driving Fear Program at, a self-help program specifically designed for the fear of driving states, ďOnce an person learns why they react with anxiety while driving, and how they can control and alter that anxious reaction, they realize they are in a position of power over their fear and not controlled by it.Ē

This holiday season, as you drive to your loved ones home to gather with your family and celebrate, remember that the drive you take for granted can be very challenging for some, and you truly are fortunate. If you suffer with a fear of driving, remember that help is available, itís something you can learn to conquer, and youíre not at all alone. Treatment programs and therapies exist that can help make this the last holiday season you need to spend filled with apprehension about driving.

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For more information about or the Driving Fear Program, or to set up an interview with Rich Presta please call: 1-800-256-9148.


 fear of driving
 driving phobia

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