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advice to help a family member through her fear of flying

advice to help a family member through her fear of flying

Apr 2nd, 2010, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
I still have situational anxiety when flying (I look outside the window and see cumulonimbus or I know they are on my route). That's why they invented Ativan.

But I have pretty much gotten rid of the free-floating kind of anxiety many describe above by learning through cognitive therapy that my anxiety was worse when my sense of control in other areas of my life was worse. CBT helps to be able to stop and ask, "Why am I so nervous? Is this rational? Does it have anything to do with the flying or is something else going on?' Etc.

Once you are rational, information also helps. I have lived in New England for more than thirty years. In that time, thousands of planes have taken off and landed at Logan airport in Boston. In all those years, one (1) person has died. His charter -- note, not scheduled -- flight skidded off the runway while landing on an icy night, broke in half, and he fell in the water from his front row seat (so much for sitting in First Class). Pretty good odds.
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 10th, 2010, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 438
I have always been an anxious flyer and used to take valium for flying which helped to some degree.
But a few years ago my doctor recommended ativan and it has helped tremendously.
Like someone has already mentioned, just knowing they are in my pocket if I need them helps to reduce the anxiety.
And when I do use them, I don't feel "out of it" in any way. It just takes the edge off.
I hope your daughter decides to join you all!
Bettina222 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2010, 06:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
I was a former very nervous flyer and did not fly for years. Now my urge to travel has helped outweigh my fear but it took a long time before I flew comfortably. Some factors:
• for some people medication DOES make you more anxious. I was one of those people - valium, clonapin, ativan, I just felt worse, if there was turbulence especially and felt especially rotten when I arrived at my destination. So I'd grit my teeth and bear it.
• one medication that DID help for long flights i discovered was the transderm patch used on cruises for people who get seasick. It was off the market for some tome but is now back. It is HEAVY DUTY medication - but it did tell me that some of my fear was associated with motion sickness.


• I always have magazines, music lots of things to distract me without medication. I never drink on the flight and drink lots of water. I would say now i am a comfortable flyer except in extreme turbulence.
I don't know of any magic button that will cure your daughter's fear. I just know i attacked mine on every front before i was able to feel ok.

If she does go the ativan or other meds route TRY the meds before you leave. Nothing worse than having really unfamiliar feelings when you are anxious about the flight anyway.

And re Captain Tom - it looks like a post of his was deleted? Tom Bunn was running fear of flying clinics before anyone else and he has analysed it from every angle. He is programs have he;ed a lot of people including me - he was a frequent poster or the old AOL travel boards and answered a lot of questions and concerns for a number of us.
mztery is offline  
Apr 15th, 2010, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,669
I didn't know EMDR was for trauma - I used it to get over a difficult time, and it was great for me.

Another approach to a fear of flying - a cruise to Europe? make getting there part of the vacation
Momliz is offline  
Apr 15th, 2010, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 44,714
EMDR was developed for trauma but is widely used to deal with a variety of situations. Fear of flying is one of them.
jubilada is online now  
Apr 19th, 2010, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2
I thought about taking a transatlantic cruise on Queen Mary. However, one still has to worry about bad weather and heavy waves. The Atlantic can be unpredictable at times.
phillip41 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 3,565
Ativan in my pocket helped me 'get over' my f of f. Luckily,
I've outgrown my phobia - now the more I fly the calmer I
immimi is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 04:57 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,801
Tell her that eventually everyone will come down - nobody has yet managed to stay up there.
hsv is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 204
I think Captain Tom says that about Xanax, etc, is because he'd rather you BUY his program instead.

I looked at his site a couple years ago, and after reading through it, I realized he was using FEAR to get people to buy his program. It actually scared me and almost worked. He had me believing that everything else would actually INCREASE my fear. Everything but his program, of course.

Jinky is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 01:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,902
Do a Fear or Flying course.
MissGreen is offline  
Mar 25th, 2013, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,628
There are plenty of cognitive behavioral approaches that can help with fear of flying. A Fear of Flying Class can be very effective - the best classes take you up in a plane as a part of the "graduation."

What Captain Tom says about meds is true. It's helpful for some, hramful for others. I've had more than one patient who was given meds (xanax or ativan usually) by a primary care doc, and got much worse on the flight. One patient got off the plane at a stop-over and took a train home.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,146
Am I reading this right? This thread appears to be nearly 3 years old. So, OP, did she fly or not???
crckwc1 is offline  

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