One of the most prevalent phobias among the general population is the Aviophobia or also more commonly known as fear of flying. The phobia is caused by thoughts of being kept inside a tight cabin which suffers from unpredictable turbulences along with shift in temperatures. All of these can contribute to a person feeling to be in an unpleasant environment. If a person is already suffering from anxiety disorder, this might increase the condition.
Fortunately for such fliers, there are still a lot of options to help a person ease up on their flight-related problems while keeping a calm state of mind. After a lot of digging we came up with the medicinal and other tips from experts to combat fear of flying.
Test any medication you are planning to use on a plane at home first
If you plan to use the over-the-counter medicine or the prescription one to help make your flight smooth by combating anxiety, you need to first test this drug at home rather than using it straight on an airplane. According to Dr. Polly Meyers, People who suffer from genetic anxiety tend to be really sensitive as a result of this particular genetic variation. They are also prone to have a bad overreaction or a response to these types of medications.
As per a report from the University of California, the high altitude conditions tend to alter the potent effects of certain anxiety combating medications. The study points to the increased red blood cells and the plasma reduction as the main contributors to this decreased effect.
This is the reason, a person suffering from anxiety and plans to use the medications before the flight needs to create a baseline for their medication. Get these prescription or OTC medications a few weeks in-advance and start taking them. This will allow the body to assimilate these drugs into your system and then make the effects less unpredictable during the flight.
Ativan and Xanax are the 2 most potent medications for fighting off anxiety of flying
As per the expertise of Dr. Brian Cassmassi, psychiatrist based in Los Angeles there are two renowned prescription medications that can allow for a person’s mood to be in a leveled state during the national or an international flight. These 2 medications are Ativan and Xanax.
Physicians often prescribe medications to those who have aviophobia and they are the most common class medicines like Xanax and Ativan. The reason is that these drugs stay in the body for quite a few hours and also work fast to provide relief from anxiety. Still, like any other anxiety medication, they have side effects like mind becoming groggy and some people getting addicted to that anxiety-free state.
Melatonin helps to fall asleep soundly during a flight and also diminishes jet lag after landing
For the anxiety stricken individuals who have to take overnight flights, this can become a real ordeal for them due to sleep disruption. For these cases, using Melatonin Supplement can be effective and they can be bought from any drug store without a prescription.
One of the Tampa bay Concierge Doctors, Dr. Khalid Saeed says, “I often recommend to my patients this melatonin because they are natural supplements and help fight the flight anxiety. Melatonin works by inducing sleep along with adjusting one’s circadian clock to allow them to function better after they reach their destination. I personally suggest starting the use of melatonin a few days before the flight so that the person is able to sleep thirty minutes or 1 hour earlier than they normally do. If the melatonin is taken close to the persons’ final destination, it will help reduce the jet lag as well as it does not cause any side effects. The flight will be over before the person knows it.”
Magnesium supplements are also effective against fighting anxiety
While there is still a lack of evidence that supports the use of magnesium supplements to help ease flight-related anxiety, the early research has given positive results that it is useful for the purpose.
Citing an article from ‘Nutrients’ back in 2017, Dr. Chirag Shah states back to back supporting evidence for magnesium having the anti-anxiety properties. He says that early researches have given results that show magnesium supplements to be a promising source for reducing anxiety in susceptible patients.
Dramamine is proven to combat flight induced nausea and anxiety
Dramamine is one of the widely used over-the-counter medications that are taken for treating the flight-related motion sickness as well as an anxiety-induced due to flying.
Kathleen Bangs, the former commercial pilot, and the aerospace expert who currently teaches classes on flight as well as covers air travel topics for various publications sates as follows,
“A vast majority of people only think that Dramamine is taken to treat nausea but this drug is really effective in causing drowsiness and to help reduce anxiety among nervous flyers. Instead of using alcohol to keep your nerves calm during a flight, I recommend the use of these medications. The reason is that alcohol causes dehydration in the body on the cellular level. Nobody needs the extra dehydration while sitting in an airplane cabin already pumping dehydrated air.”
To keep a focused and calm mind during flight, refrain from using stimulants
To most of you, if you are taking a morning flight, drinking a cup of coffee seems like a great idea to feel alert and energized. But if you are suffering from anxiety then coffee and its major stimulating agent Caffeine can work in the opposite direction for your health.
As per one travel expert, the best way to reduce your chances of panic attacks during flights is to avoid taking supplements such as coffee, energy dirks, etc. these stimulants can result in the flyer’s mind to become jittery and the rise in anxiety levels.
Exercising before taking a flight provides a comforting effect on the mind and body
Due to the seats of panes not being spacious, the discomfort in flights is a common occurrence which is a negative for those who have fear of flying. However, if a person suffering from anxiety does a rigorous workout, it will fight the negative effects caused due to the cramped seats.
The best exercises before taking a flight are either to do light running or swimming. These exercises need to be preformed on the day before and of the flight. The exercise tends to cause the blood to have increased flow which fends off the feelings of being cooped up inside a tight cabin.