Xanax for flying phobia?
June 22, 2010 10:13 AM Subscribe
Tell me about using Xanax or other anti-anxiety meds to combat fear of flying.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My 65-year-old father has for the past 30 years had a fairly severe phobia of flying. He's managed to take a handful of flights in that time, but never without a lot of misery and bellyaching, as well as the ever-present worry that he'll freeze at the last minute and be unable to board the plane (has happened a couple of times). Non-chemical interventions (therapy, hypnosis) have pretty much failed. Thing is, my mom loves to travel, and as retirement approaches, I know they'd like to go farther than an RV will take them.
In my social circles, it seems like popping a Xanax has become as conventional and unexceptional a remedy for difficult air travel as aspirin for a headache. I'd like to encourage my dad to pursue this route, but since I've never touched the stuff myself, I have a few questions. In particular, if you have experience or knowledge about taking Xanax or other anti-anxiety medication on an as-needed basis (i.e. one or two times, not as part of an entire course of medication) to deal with a particular anxiety-causing situation, I'd love to know:
1. Does the medication work-- i.e., did you find your anxiety reduced to manageable levels and get through the experience OK?
2. Are there any unexpected features of the experience my dad should know about before taking this (weird side-effects, duration of action, dependency issues afterwards, whatever)? Additionally, my dad has angina and snores; I know sleep apnea warrants a "use with caution" for some anti-anxiety meds, since they can depress respiration, but is this really something to be worried about?
3. How should my dad approach this with his doctor (and what sort of doctor should he approach) so as to minimize his chances of getting shunted off into some complicated referral/treatment process? He doesn't have a lot of patience with the medical system, so I anticipate that each additional step required to get the meds will greatly decrease his chances of ever following this treatment path.
4. And lastly, I (ahem) just happen to have in my possession ~30 Xanax of unknown strength given to me by a boyfriend's aunt a few years ago before I took a long flight. I never did use them, but I'm guessing it'd be irresponsible for me to take one now just to see what it feels like, or to suggest that my dad take one for the same purpose.... right?
Anonymous because my father doesn't share our generation's easygoing, unembarrassed attitude toward mental health issues. Thanks!