A 21-year-old Playboy model freaked out at 10,000 feet on a Jet Blue flight bound for Newark, according to TMZ. It appeared she went for the door in a state of panic, other passengers reported. She was subdued by flight attendants and taken in for questioning once the plane landed.
What the passengers witnessed was Tiffany Livingston suffering a panic attack mid-flight. After authorities questioned Livingston, they were assured that she was leaning up against the door to stabilize herself during turbulence and not trying to get out of the aircraft. The passengers maintain she was freaking out and trying to open the door.
If Livingston was suffering from a panic attack, which it certainly sounds as if she was, then it is likely it scared the other passengers. Panic attacks can be one of the most horrific feelings in the world. It evokes a feeling of doom and fear and it is very emotionally painful. It kicks in the “fight or flight” reflex, and people are typically in a state of mind that they feel they must get away, according to the Olin Health Center.
Panic attacks bring on a heightened state of anxiety; they are also called anxiety attacks for that reason. The best way to describe this feeling is to imagine the fear you would feel and the instinct to run and get away if you are in a dark alley and a man with a knife is coming at you. That same type of fear and instinct to run is what it is like to experience a panic attack.
The difference is they come out of no where. There is not a man chasing them with a knife; they can be sitting quietly in a safe setting when the attack kicks in and they come on strong and fast. Panic attacks do occur more frequently when you are in a crowd, or in a place there is no escape from, even if an escape is not needed at the time. An aircraft would be a place that could bring on a panic attack because of the close proximity to other passengers and the closed-in feeling of being contained in the plane itself.
Livingston was on medication for panic attacks, but, according to the article on TMZ, she forgot it. Quick-acting tranquilizing medication will usually do the trick of calming down a panic attack. Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for this condition. Brand names such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are some of the more recognizable drugs used for panic attacks, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
A panic attack usually leaves as quickly as it came on, and once Livingston got off the plane, she was fine and let go after questioning.
References: TMZ, Olin Health Center, USDEA