Can Using Xanax When Flying Cause PTSD?

xanax for PTSD

It is used for a number of anxiety disorders but it may not be the right drug to reach out for when the user has a phobia of flying. A study on how the medication affects anxiety individuals while flying could trigger the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety medications like Xanax and other benzodiazepines can be quite tricky to use. While they may help to control the symptoms of these issue, the usage of this pill should be appropriated according to the type of disorder and also the user’s response to the drug.

Flying phobia is a common phenomenon. The idea of taking this drug to help with flying anxiety may seem good. The drug could probably be used to provide temporary relief. However, there are more likely to be repercussions from doing so. For one, the drug is not going to overcome the innate fear of flying in any real way. Other techniques to overcome the airborne anxiety would be needed. Even in patients with existing PTSD, Xanax and similar anti-anxiety medications are used with caution. To better understand how this pill affects the persons with in the air, read on to see the study that demonstrated how the drug may be a trigger for PTSD.

Details of the study linking Xanax to PTSD while flying

Research was conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine to determine how taking Xanax helps or does not help with flying anxiety. According to the group of researchers, it only helped to control the psychological symptoms of anxiousness but were not as effective in managing the physiological symptoms. These physiological symptoms that were aroused are similar to that of PTSD.

The study was done on a group of 28 persons and they were made to take two flights with a gap of one week between each. For the first flight, half were administered with Xanax while the others were given placebo. The symptoms recorded included reduced anxiety in those who took this drug, but heart rate of 114 beats per minute and 22.7 breaths per minute, which were higher than those who took the placebo.

The second flight test was done without administering any medication. About 71% of the respondents who had first taken Xanax now displayed increased anxiety with about 123 heart beats per minute. The group on placebo recorded even lower heart beats per minute of 98. The researchers concluded that if the users had not experienced as much trauma in the first flight then the second flight would have been a better experience.

Why Xanax may not be the right drug for flying phobia

PTSD from flying can cause certain associative memories that take longer to fade. Stress hormones are released when the patient experiences the different movements like turbulence, drop or increase in altitude, etc. Based on the evidence, stress hormones and Xanax tend to increase the anxiousness felt by the flier.

However, this does not mean that someone with these issues should never take this medication. This potent medication is highly effective when taken right. Besides, every person responds differently to medication and Xanax may be suitable for some with regard to managing flying anxiety. Take the Xanax pills only as directed by the physician for that particular type of panic condition and the results are sure to be beneficial.