Using Ativan If You’re Afraid To Fly

Last modified on September 22nd, 2013

I don’t like to fly. In fact, I would say that I pretty much hate it.

First, airports involve delays. You generally have to wait in line to check-in or check bags. Then you have to wait to go through security. Then you have to wait in the waiting area to board you plane. Then you board, and have to wait inside. Ideally your plane will leave on time, but often it doesn’t, and you’re stuck waiting on the plane.

Next, you’re cramped into a small space, usually sitting next to one or two other people who probably don’t really want to be on a plane either. If you’re lucky, they smell nice. If you’re unlucky, they smell. Or even worse, they are under the age of 12 and looking at you like they just re-released the Tickle Me Elmo doll, and you’re it.

I’ve also had my share of scary airplane encounters.

In Cuba, the pilot put the engines into idle during our take off climb and we went into a mini nose dive.

During a huge storm in Vancouver a few years ago (the one that destroyed some of Stanley Park) the turbulence was so bad on the plane that my glasses popped off my face and ended up on the floor of the opposite window seat.

On the way to Ireland recently the pilot woke up everyone up at about 2am saying “we’re about to hit some serious, serious turbulence, so wake up and put your seat belt on.” Thanks for that.

As a result, I get super anxious on planes. If you’re next to me on a plane and we hit some bumps, it’s likely you’ll have deep claw-marks in your hand from me squeezing you.

And forget sleeping on planes for me – if it’s not some kid screaming in the front, it’s the little bits of turbulence that my brain focuses that stop me from getting any rest on the plane.

Enter my new saviour, Ativan.

Prior to leaving to Argentina, I went to a walk-in clinic and told them how much I hated flying. I was originally hoping they would prescribe me some sedatives meant for horses or something to knock me out, but turns out they had something better in mind for me: Ativan. After warning me repeatedly that they really shouldn’t prescribe it to me in a walk-in clinic, the doctor then wrote me enough for around 20 flights or so, which was great.

Ativan is anti-anxiety medication, it basically makes it so you don’t really care about anything. I popped a few pills (or rather, placed them under my tongue, the way you’re supposed to take Ativan) on my first flight, and sort of zoned out for all ten hours of it. It’s kind of like the main protagonist in the movie Garden State at the beginning – everyone else can be freaking out, but you’re sort of oblivious to it.

Bad turbulence? No biggie.

Crying kid? He’ll stop eventually.

Plane’s on fire? I got some water here if you guys need it.

I still can’t really sleep on planes, but at least I don’t fly on the edge of my seat any more, which is a nice change.

So if you have a phobia of flying, then I suggest talking to your doctor and getting some of the good stuff. It’s definitely changed my flying experience for the better.

17 responses to “Using Ativan If You’re Afraid To Fly”

  1. Jenny says:

    Maybe meditation or relaxing exercises would be a good idea or even a few stiff drinks. I would SERIOUSLY suggest that anyone do research as to what drugs you are importing into other countries. Many pharmaceuticals that might be perfectly fine in Canada are illegal in other countries.

    Ativan, for example is reportedly illegal in India.

  2. Duane Storey says:

    Drinks don’t work, nor does anything like gravol. Generally you’re ok as long as you’re not trying to bring a narcotic into a country, such as something with codeine. But always a good idea to do some research.

  3. Cher says:

    This was great. thanks. What dosage do you take?

  4. Duane says:

    I think I take 1mg generally on long flights. If it gets bumpy I might take another 0.5mg, but usually 1mg is enough.

  5. Kenny says:

    Man this was right on time ! I work for Delta and get to fly for free. My fear has made me miss out on so many trips. I been working for the company 13yrs now ( on the ramp ). Well April 4, 2013 I’ll be facing my fear. With the help of this pill. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Kenny says:

    They really work ! Best flight in my life. I was so relax and I just to one 0.5mg

  7. Audra says:

    The part about the plane being on fire cracked me up. Bless my awesome sister for coming to my rescue with Lorazepam (Ativan) for my flights tomorrow to Florida. I don’t think I can continue to fly un-medicated. Glad that the Ativan is helping you, I’m hoping for good results 🙂

  8. Tcb says:

    I have a healthy fear of flying and gave not flown in about 5 years but I keep finding myself having to drive to Chicago or Denver etc…for business. These long drives are taking their toll but I am afraid that once the airplane door closes that I am trapped for better or worse. Has the Ativan helped with this? Any side effects? Some article I read from a Phd said that taking the pill can cause anxiety while in the air due to the altitude…ever hear of this?
    Please advise…have to go to Denver soon and it’s a two day drive.

  9. AJ says:

    Took a flight 3 years ago. 2 years prior went to California. Was pretty bad turbulence on way to washington (I see turbulence not to bad on big places and travelling east to west).

    But yea this drug REALLY worked for me. I didn’t care about anything. And I was scared of flying. That drug works really really well. Pop it in my mouth and let it dissolve.

  10. Angela says:

    I’m so grateful to read this. I can’t stand flying, so much that I haven’t stepped foot on a plane in 15 years. The last time I flew, I had such a horrendous panic attack that I had to deboard before take off. We rescheduled a flight for the next day, and my husband pretty well had to carry me because of all the OTC sleep medication I had to take to get on the plane.

    I’m flying from Chicago to Tampa in April with the husband, two daughters, and infant son. I absolutely have to keep my sh*t together. I’m going to see my PCP before then and asking if he would prescribe me just a few pills to get me there and back without terrifying/scarring my children.

  11. Frank L says:

    Like many other reponders, I am a very very anxious flyer. Years ago, my Dr. prescribed atavan. I have since flown to China, Japan, and other not so far places. One or two pills and I am ready to go, as relaxed as can be. One note: My Dr. said “if you do take them, DO NOT DRINK, or they will pour you into your next mode of transport.

  12. Frank L says:

    Like may other responders on this site, I am a very very anxious flyer. A number of years ago my Dr. prescribed Atavan for me. This stuff works wonders, one or two pills and I am as relaxed as can be, ready to go anywhere. In fact, I have taken 12 hour flights to both Japan and China.
    One note: he did caution, DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL or they will pour you into your next mode of transit.

  13. Davis says:

    I have been tormenting myself mentally while flying for years. In 2 weeks I will try Ativan. I pray it helps. I took one .5 mg tonight, I am chilled; but may need 2 for my flight.

  14. Angel says:

    Hi, I will be taking Ativan this Friday for a flight from Houston to Las Vegas. I do have anxiety I have flow before fist flight was to Mexico City I flew alone and was ok with no medications. 5 years ago I flew to Las Vegas and was terrified I survived the round trip. I guess the older I get the more scarier the flight is. This Friday flying back to Las Vegas after 5 years I have been feeling very worried about the flight. My doctor prescribed be Ativian .5mg I took a pill last night and was very calm. I might have to take 2 for the flight. I am very excited about this pill I heard its some good stuff. Wish me Luck.

  15. Sally says:

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. To call me down which, apparently I need! In addition to the pre-flight anxiety I am having anxiety over whether or not I want to try this pill. after reading this I think I will try one at home tonight to see what happens. Thanks again

  16. Jen L says:

    Hi Duane. I recently developed a late onset flying anxiety (started in my late 30’s) and I can totally relate to the fact that every little shake of the plane, I am sweating and clawing on the seats for dear life. My family doc recently prescribed me Ativan…and it helped with my edginess. I’ve tried everything before including double doses of Gravel but that just makes you groggy and doesn’t deal with the physical symptoms of flying anxiety. But Ativan…this stuff works. Now, my doc told me that this is just a band-aid for the flying anxiety, and that I should get real help. I don’t want to get real help…I don’t know what else another doc could say that would change my mind about flying (lol). But Ativan has been a life saver. Totally agree with your post. Kudos for being upfront and sharing a real experience! Happy flying and may the winds always be gentle and go in your favour 🙂

  17. Cate says:

    Thanks so much for all of these comments. I’m flying in two days and already having panic attacks 🙁 I hope to be able to ask for Ativan tomorrow when I see a doc. I’d like to know exactly how you have felt on the plane while on Ativan and also did you take any way before the flight as well for anxiety prior to flying ?
    Thanks so much!

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