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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Health

Facing down phobias may be the best cure

It started when he was 12, during a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Savannah, Ga., in a 12-seater plane. The engine started smoking, and passengers began to panic. They landed safely, but the memory of that experience — the helpless feeling and his racing heart— was seared in his mind.

Overnight, Adam morphed into a fearful flyer. He would take the bus or train, anything to avoid planes. Over the years, his fears multiplied. He started feeling claustrophobic in subways, then petrified while driving on bridges — hyperventilating and anxious that his heart was racing so fast he might die of a heart attack.

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