The New York Times basically published a full page ad for Xanax disguised as a story about people taking medication for air travel anxiety. The piece discusses how more and more flyers are turning to prescription drugs to take the edge off a flight, which has become more anxiety provoking in the age of terrorism. It specifically mentions Xanax 4 times and as well as a host of other drugs, and fails to mention any counter-argument for the practice.

“Some fliers said they preferred a drug like Xanax to alcohol because its effects are typically mild. It does not make them spacey or fuzzy-headed, they said. They do not stumble off a plane as if their legs are filled with putty, making it appealing to business travelers who must attend meetings after landing.”

Obviously with targeted advertising and the head-spinning ease at which these drugs can be obtained, more folks are going for it. The part that bothers me as a clinician is just how easy it is to learn a handful of techniques to take the edge off anxiety that can also be applied in a ton of other domains of life, yet people turn to this instead. Furthermore, I myself have had some difficulty flying in the past, and a few cognitive techniques have made an incredible difference in being able to sit comfortably on a plane. This isn’t to say some people don’t experience significant benefits from taking medication for anxiety, but to me this is a clear case of over-medicating manageable symptoms.