If you know people that fly, you may know that many people take Xanax for flight anxiety to help with getting through long flights.
Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam, which is used to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Flying in airplanes causes anxiety for some people, and Xanax is a common prescription treatment. For this reason, some doctors will prescribe Xanax for flight anxiety.
Our brain cells send messages to each other with electrical and chemical signals. One of these signals is called GABA, and it is responsible for slowing the messages between brain cells and calming down thoughts and moods. Xanax and other benzodiazepines work by increasing how well GABA works. The effect is that we feel more calm and relaxed.
Benefits of Taking Xanax Before Flight
Any benzodiazepine can be prescribed to help with flight anxiety, but Xanax is popular because it works quickly and wears off quickly as well. Xanax begins working in about 30 minutes and lasts for four to six hours, covering the flight time of most trips within the country.
Taking Xanax for fear of flying helps by inducing:
If you are prescribed Xanax for flying, the dosage will be low the first time. Since everyone responds to Xanax differently, a low dose helps prevent over-sedation and unwanted side effects. If a low dose does not work, you may be instructed to increase the dose the next time you fly.
Xanax for Flight Anxiety
Xanax is a very addictive drug, so if you receive Xanax for flight anxiety, you will only receive enough for your next few flights. You have a low chance of developing addiction or tolerance to Xanax while using it for flight anxiety.
The Xanax dosage for flying anxiety is low, usually 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg.
Downsides of Taking Xanax and Flying
Xanax can cause a number of side effects, especially for people who are new to the drug or who take too much. Common side effects of Xanax include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Problems with speech
- Shortness of breath
Older adults and people taking certain prescription medications should not take Xanax or similar anxiety medications while flying.
Xanax and Alcohol While Flying
Notice how the list of Xanax side effects above overlaps with the side effects of alcohol. Do not take alcohol and Xanax together while flying, because their effects can add together. The mixture may cause trouble breathing, over-sedation and problems with speech. Keep in mind that if you mix Xanax and alcohol on a flight, you could possibly be hours away from medical help if it’s needed.
The ability to stay awake and communicate is incredibly important while traveling. Drinking alcohol while using Xanax on a flight can increase the risk of missing connecting flights, becoming lost or disoriented in unknown locations or forgetting your itinerary.
Stories of People Taking Xanax While Flying
In a recent anecdote by Jeremy Cassar, an Australian writer, he discusses his experience on a flight after mixing Xanax and alcohol. He took one Xanax tablet to calm his nerves along with a shot of tequila before boarding the plane.
While in the air, he continued drinking and “blacked out” at one point, losing his memory of much of the flight. He recounts a disagreement with another passenger that caught the attention of flight staff. Upon landing at his destination, he was briefly detained before being released by airport security.
Alcohol and Xanax together are known to cause blackouts, so avoid this combination while at the airport or on a flight.
Key Points: Xanax While Flying
Here are some points to remember about Xanax and flight anxiety:
- Xanax is a medication used for anxiety disorders, including flight anxiety
- Since it lasts only a few hours, Xanax is useful for flight anxiety
- Do not mix alcohol and Xanax on a flight, as it can cause memory blackouts
- Other side effects of mixing the two are confusion, drowsiness, and problems with speech
If you or a loved one needs treatment for benzodiazepine addiction, The Recovery Village can help. We have centers located around the country and can tailor a plan that fits your needs. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans that can work for you.
MedlinePlus. “Alprazolam: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” 2017. Accessed June 17, 2019. Cassar, Jeremy. “The Flight from Hell: Proof That Mixing Drugs and Alcohol on a Plane Is a Terrible Idea.” 2016. Accessed June 17, 2019.
MedlinePlus. “Alprazolam: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” 2017. Accessed June 17, 2019.
Cassar, Jeremy. “The Flight from Hell: Proof That Mixing Drugs and Alcohol on a Plane Is a Terrible Idea.” 2016. Accessed June 17, 2019.