How has the pandemic affected us with travel phobia?

Our most irrational fears do not arise out of nowhere, but originate, in most cases, in our interaction with the rest of the world, and especially with the rest of society.

That’s why experiences as emotionally complicated as the coronavirus pandemic have led some people to internalize a series of intense fears that follow from that experience. In the case of the COVID-19 crisis, travel phobia, also called hodophobia, can be one of the ways to curb these psychological disorders.; let’s see why.

What is hodophobia?

Specific phobias are one of the most widespread disorders in today’s modern societies and are a great source of discomfort for those who suffer from them and their environment.

There are many types of phobias associated with various specific triggers, and some of the most common are phobias of certain animals, needles, open spaces, or travel. When the person comes into contact with stimuli that make them feel close to these phobic elements, they experience a sudden increase in their level of anxiety, to the point of having difficulty not losing control of what is happening. she does.

Hodophobia or travel phobia is a phobia associated with an a priori positive notion such as traveling, but which it causes great discomfort both emotionally and physically or cognitively in people who suffer from it.

Thus, hodophobia or travel phobia is the irrational fear of participating in any trip away from home with any means of transport enabled for this purpose, mainly by plane, train, car or boat.

Of course, it should not be confused with the phobia of airplanes, based on the concrete fear of suffering an accident inside these means of transport. What is frightening about hodophobia is the very experience of leaving the region that is familiar to usto which we have become accustomed and/or which is part of the place where people of our ethnic or cultural origin live.

This phobia is manifested by a high level of fear, anguish, panic or anxiety at the thought of having to take a trip in nature and obviously for the time it lasts, due to a number of very different reasons from person to person. .

Some of the reasons that can cause this irrational fear can be the anxiety of having to leave the comfort and safety of home, as well as the fact that we have to deal with an unknown situation that we do not control.

Causes of travel phobia

Although each person experiences this condition differently due to their own peculiarities, there are a number of more or less frequent causes that can explain the onset of travel phobia. They are next.

1. Traumatic experiences

As with most existing phobias, travel phobia it can be triggered by a traumatic experience in the past or specifically in childhood.

Such experiences leave such an emotional imprint on the person that they can lead to sequelae because of the way the experience is “stored” in memory. For this reason, the concept of what reminds us of this traumatic experience is easily activated by all stimuli that are related to this experience, and an anxiety-based response occurs within us.

The traumatic experience that the person has lived can be of several types, among the most common can be: having been lost on a trip, having suffered a kidnapping or theft, having witnessed an attack, having experienced an accident of airplane, or have just had a very bumpy trip at some point in their lives.

2. Biological factors predisposing to anxiety

Sometimes this type of phobia can appear without a clear trigger in the form of a one-time event, but due to a number of circumstances associated with a biological predisposition to anxiety, this type of disorder arises.

And is it there are those who are more likely to suffer from abnormally high levels of anxiety in situations that do not present real dangersomething that may be due to genetics or an alteration that occurred in the early stages of development and that conditioned the functioning of the nervous system.

3. Ignorance

Mere ignorance of how something works or what to expect from an experience (e.g. going to another country) can lead to irrational fear based on issues of deal with this uncertainty. And once you’ve learned to fear something, it’s easy for this vicious circle to keep getting stronger.

For example, in the case of the coronavirus pandemic, someone who has never traveled or has traveled very little may have “came in contact” with the concept of traveling primarily through the alarmist messages that have been circulating for decades. months on the risk of contagion that has come to mean going to another country for a few days, so that this union of concepts, that of traveling and that of being in danger, becomes very united in trying to leave tourism long after the stage of the COVID-19 crisis.

The influence of the pandemic through travel phobia

Travel phobia is a relatively rare disorder, but where it is present it can be a very significant problem. For example, in those who have a long-distance relationship or who have to travel frequently to other countries for work.

In the case of the COVID-19 crisis, all the necessary circumstances have been given for the cases of this disorder to increase. On the one hand, the focus has been on all the implications that travel has on our immune system; if in previous decades we hardly thought about it, this pandemic has reminded us that the transmission of diseases is a real risk in a very globalized society, and that when you go to a distant place, you are more exposed to cases serious because our bodies were not “trained” to fight these pathogens.

On the other hand, the pandemic has led us to see traveling as something exceptional, something that is not part of the life of the majority and which is not as trivial as going to work, for example ; there is a qualitative difference between moving to the regions we know and going to another country. This predisposes us to see the journey as the action of leaving what is familiar to us; no matter how much we find in our destiny multinationals and places similar to our place of origin, it remains a mirage; We really know very little about this place and we need constant help to get around. In addition, we do not have the same social support network as in our country, due to barriers such as language, unfamiliarity with how the administration works, etc.

What can we do about these fears?

Fortunately, this phobia and all the others can be treated and overcome effectively with professional psychotherapeutic support. In just a few months of regular therapy sessions, it is possible to see how this problematic fear disappears.

If you are interested in starting such treatment, please contact me.

Leave a Comment