Panic Attacks
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Causes and Solutions to Panic Attacks on Planes

Henry Vyner, MD, Psychiatrist
Causes and Solutions to Panic Attacks on Planes

Having a panic attack on a plane can be very frightening. Even if you don't necessarily have a fear of flying, there may still be factors that contribute to panic attacks in these types of situations.

In this article, we'll take a look at all of the potential reasons that panic attacks on planes occur, and what you can do to stop them.

Causes of Panic Attacks on Planes

There are many reasons that panic attacks on planes are common. Obviously fear of flying is one of them, but there are other reasons as well, including:

Fear is, of course, the clearest reason for the increase in panic attacks. Everything about going on a plane can cause more anxiety, even if you don't necessarily have a specific fear of flying. From rushing to the airport, to parking, to checking in, to security, to getting a seat, and finally to takeoff - there are so many different issues that create anxiety, and unfortunately the more anxiety someone with panic attacks has the more likely they are to trigger it on the plane.

How to Control Plane Panic Attacks

In general, you want to see medical help for panic attacks, and that includes panic attacks that happen on an airplane. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a good treatment for panic attacks It has also been shown that taking a benzodiazepine before you fly will reduce your anxiety, but that this only works for short periods of time. 

But if you're already on a plane, then consider the following techniques for controlling panic attacks:

Finally, mindfulness training is worth a try. Mindfulness training and meditation may well help you find a way to prevent your panic attacks.

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