My experiences with Xanax (alprazolam)
Xanax is a member of the benzodiazepine family of minor tranquillisers, just like Valium. It is not identical though. One major difference between valium and xanax is that valium stays in your system for longer and therefore keeps you calmer for longer. Xanax passes through your system relatively quickly and people often report its effects wearing off within four hours.
I was prescribed Valium for a number of travel phobias, including travelling by plane, train, bus and car (obviously not as a driver). It is extremely effective. When travelling by train I felt completely normal, so much so that I questioned whether the Xanax was actually working; I had expected to feel somehow out of it. My thoughts were completely lucid, I negotiated platforms and ticket offices without problem, and enjoyed the ride. I also had a similar experience in elevators, feeling calm and relaxed.
Interestingly I had been lead to believe that Xanax wouldn’t change the way I thought, that I would still have negative and catastrophic thoughts in my mind, but without the physical symptoms. This was not quite true. In fact I did have catastrophic thoughts at first but these quickly subsided and I ended up feeling quite good about myself. I would say that it is worth taking as little as possible as on a higher dose I did find that the xanax made me feel a little bit spacy which was ever so slightly disconcerting. That said I never had major side effects at all from xanax.
I have never taken Xanax on an airplane but I am told that it works extremely well.
You can read more of this article on the Anxiety 2 Calm drugs pages.