Xanax and Flying

Flying can be an experience that induces anxiety in a lot of people. There’s something that can feel inherently unnatural about being thirty thousand feet in the air, moving along at hundreds of miles an hour, surrounded by other people. Unfortunately, while a fear of flying is natural and common, it can severely hinder a lot of people’s lives. For example, people may find that they’re unable to travel for work, for leisure or to visit family.

They may find that if they do travel they experience panic attacks, extreme fear or they may be miserable in the days leading up to their flight.

In today’s modern, interconnected world, not being able to fly without crippling fear can be detrimental to your quality of life.

So what do a lot of people do? They rely on prescription medications, and one of the most commonly prescribed in Xanax. You have probably heard of the combination of using Xanax and flying, but you may not know the details including both the pros and cons of relying on prescription medications to fly.

Xanax and Flying
When you use anti-anxiety medicine, such as using Xanax and flying, you are theoretically going to experience a lowered physiological response to the stimuli around you. What this means is that you might not experience some of the symptoms of anxiety and panic you would otherwise, such as sweating palms and rapid heart rate.

Xanax and flying can also be beneficial because not only can it reduce the symptoms of anxiety and panic you may be feeling, but it can also help you fall asleep in some cases. You may be able to dose off during your flight, which a lot of people like, particularly if they’re on a long-haul flight.

Many physicians will prescribe patients with a limited dose of Xanax if they say they have a fear of flying, which usually ranges from 0.25 mg to 0.5  mg.

While some people do find that the combination of taking Xanax and flying works well to alleviate their fear, there are a lot of potential downsides that should be considered.

The first is that if you rely on combining Xanax and flying, you’ll never really become used to flying. The more you fly and experience everything surrounding the concept of flying, the less likely you are to be afraid. That’s why so many programs that help people with a fear of flying focus on exposure therapy. If you’re always taking Xanax when you fly, you’ll always depend on it, and you’ll never overcome your fear or phobia of the experience.

Also, while the theory is that you’ll be more physiologically and psychologically calm when taking Xanax and flying, that’s not always the case. Research conducted at the Stanford School of Medicine showed that while your mind may feel somewhat more relaxed when you take Xanax before flying, you may actually experience an increased level of physiological arousal.

For example, in the Stanford study, 28 people with fear or anxiety about flying were assigned either the generic version of Xanax or a placebo. The study participants who took alprazolam (generic Xanax), experienced reduced anxiety, but their heart rate and breathing rate were much higher than the placebo group.

Then, the research took the same group of people and had them take a second flight a week later. 71% of study participants who had taken generic Xanax then experienced significantly increased anxiety without medication, panic, a desire to leave the plan and an increased heart rate. The researchers commented on the article that the use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax when flying can reduce anxiety at the moment, but can increase it over the long-term.

Another very serious potential problem that can occur when taking Xanax and flying is that someone is likely to combine the drug with alcohol. This is particularly true when someone is especially afraid of flying, and combining Xanax and alcohol can be dangerous or deadly.

Most medical professionals recommend that instead of taking Xanax and flying, people work to deal with the root of their fear and anxiety. Xanax might initially numb a panic attack, but it won’t take away the overall phobia of flying. Instead, it’s better to work on a phobia with therapy or a program designed specifically for coping with a fear of flying.

There’s also the risk of developing a dependence to Xanax, even when you only start out using it occasionally when you fly.

These are all important considerations to keep in mind the next time you’re considering taking Xanax and flying. It may feel okay in the short-term, but in the long-term, it can create significant problems and even increase your level of anxiety on your next flight.