Fear of Flying - Drugs?

Old Aug 19th, 2003, 12:19 PM
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kireland, I agree with you. I never really understood how extreme this could be until I flew with my cousin who is deathly afraid of flying. I had the optimistic idea that I would be able to distract and/or reassure her. Hah. No way. She was white as a sheet, tears running down her face, gripping my hand so hard it hurt. And she takes enough drugs that she ought to be unconscious -- nothing seems to work.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 12:23 PM
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MizzEve: My fear had nothing to do with the duration of the flight, so I took it whenever I flew, both before the flight and during if I needed it.

A funny story about trying the pills before your flight. The first time they were prescribed for me I did the same thing, it was a Wednesday night and my husband was busy studying for an exam so I was wasting some time watching one of my favourite tv shows at that time - "Party of Five". For those of you who don't know this show, it was a real tear jerker. I had taken the Ativan before the show and knew they had worked when the show ended (a really gut-wrenching sad episode) and I hadn't shed a tear!
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 12:28 PM
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MizzEve: I take some sort of sleeping aid when the flight is longer than six hours and is a night flight.

Since this time I am flying overnight and arriving in Paris the next day, I figure I might as well try to get in a good sleep and be able to function the next day. My time in Europe is always precious to me and I want to make the most of it.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 12:33 PM
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MizzEve-
I usually take something if the flight is longer than 2.5 hours. Two hour flights I can try to just grin and bear it but anything over 2.5 seems to get to me. And I definitely need them for overseas flights- the water just freaks me out even more. If it is a smaller plane (example: prop plane), I will usually take something also, regardless of the duration of the flight.

My intention is to NOT take anything and if a flight is smooth, I can usually make it. I don't want to be become dependent on the drugs but at the same time, my fear is real and if I can relieve my suffering, I will take something. First sign of turbulence, I panic and will usually take something.

Good luck!
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 01:14 PM
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I totally agree about the water thing. I used to date a C141 pilot (large Air Force cargo plane). He was very afraid of flying in thunderstorms and over water. He told me that planes don't "land" on water, they "break apart & sink." I figure if a tough guy who is in CONTROL of the plane is afraid, then I have reason to be terrified. LOL
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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Count me in with the Xanax crowd. I'm still anxious but not nearly as bad as I would be without it. Sleeping pills, such as ambien, don't relieve the anxiety and frankly don't really help me sleep. For years I was torturing myself because I refused to ask for medication because somehow I thought that would make me weak. But the anxiety was getting worse and worse and finally I asked for something from a doctor. I thought he would give me valium but he said that valium was a tranquilizer and I would do better with an anti-anxiety medication. The Xanax was wonderful. I still hate flying but I can now go on short flights without taking anything. It might make me a bit drowsy but I don't worry about that in case "something should happen." Frankly, in an emergency, I think I would act much better with the Xanax than without it because the I would be acting more calmly.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 05:58 PM
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Damn, I was hoping this was a literary discussion about Erica Jong and William S Burroughs!
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 06:36 PM
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Digital ~ =D>
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the advice and information. I fly about 6 or 8 times a year, and sometimes am fine, but other times am completely freaked out. I'll consider some drugs, but also the fearofflyinghelp.com web site for more natural approaches. THANKS!!
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Old Aug 19th, 2003, 11:29 PM
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Kireland,
I certainly did not intend to sound unsympathetic to anyone who needs medication to get them through a difficult experience. I just wanted to add a note of caution for those that might be tempted to take a friend's pills or for those that can manage quite well without medication.

I realize my perspective is a bit different because I deal with overdoses and adverse drug reactions daily (I'm an ICU nurse). Having said that, I would certainly encourage someone who needs medication in order to fly to seek medical care and follow their doctor's advice. Travel is worth it!
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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I'm not in the medical field, but KatherineT should be taken seriously. Taking an unfamiliar pill from someone is risky. What if you have an unknown underlying medical condition? Mixing meds is another thing. (My nephew died from doing this.) I second the fact that the same med and dosage can have drastically effects on different people. I don't mean to sound anal, but pill-popping is far too casual in our culture today. Did you know that an alarming number of kids take an alarmingly large dose of Dramamine and the like to practically knock themselves out on long, sometimes noisy, sometimes boring far away church and/or school trips by bus? I'm speaking of clean kids, not druggies. They don't consider this drug abuse.

On the other hand, I do not believe in the backlash against many medicines you see. Used properly, they can be life changing. Behavior modification is great, but I believe it is sometimes necessary to be used as a supplement to a medication. The meds don't do it for you in these cases, but DO level the playing field to enable one to succeed with behavior modification.

I have not even a remote fear of flying, needles, dentists, etc. so can't imagine what this must be like. I do know it is very real for those who experience it and sympathize with you. Please don't suffer, but see your doctor. It can be very treatable. Good luck!
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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I tested my Ativan last night. I took it at 9:20 p.m. At 10:30, I still had no results. It didn't take "the edge off" at all. Then aprox. 11: p.m., I crawled into bed and passed out. I slept through both alarms and a wake up call. It's now 14 hours since I took it and I just now starting to feel coherant. I don't like it.

I called my doc's nurse and explained the result. She told me to cut the tiny pill in half and try again. Doesn't make sense to me. Why do that when it takes 1.5 hours to kick in and then just knocks me out. I told her I wanted Xanax. We'll see what happens.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 09:56 AM
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MizzEve, drugs often take an hour or so to "kick in", more if you take them on a full stomach (which might have been the case depending on when you had dinner). This is likely to be true for whatever you are prescribed. Still, aren't you glad you tried the Ativan before the plane? This is a great example of why that is so important.

RLA, you're not afraid of your dentist? I am soooo impressed...
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 03:23 PM
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HI, I am an RN also. If the dose of the Ativan you took nocked you out like that you might want to start with .25mg dose of the xanax first to see if you are very sensitive to medications of this sort.
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 07:23 PM
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Marilyn - thank goodness I don't have the dental phobia. I've spent more than my share in the chair. Guess it's all that sugar I love. Maybe I should change my boring SN to Sugar? My DH and son have a pitiful time in that chair. DH also has the needle phobia thing. He is tough as a boot until it comes to needles. It was torture for him to have the required blood test to get our marraige license (no longer required). He survived it only to find out we did it too soon. It had to be within so many weeks of the wedding, and we were slightly outside the time frame. He nearly fainted, but loved me enough to do it again. Ouch!
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Old Aug 20th, 2003, 09:53 PM
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RLA, now that's true love!

I'm one of those people who asks for gas just to get my teeth cleaned.
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