How Stuff Works: Breathing into a Bag for Panic Attacks

How Stuff Works: Breathing into a Bag for Panic Attacks

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By William Schroeder

Have you ever wondered why people are told to breathe into a bag when they have panic attacks? When people panic, they tend to take in too much Oxygen. When we are over oxygenated, our body changes, but part of the focus is on the PH level changes that happen which create more anxiety. The increase in O2 and not enough Co2, people will often report symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath, distorted vision, and tingling sensations around their extremities.

The trick is to reverse the acidity at these key junctures of the brain. Breathing into a paper bag helps to reverse this cycle as it ‘recycles’ the carbon dioxide that we have released and limits the amount of fresh oxygen that we can take in. Breathing exercises can also be practiced to produce a similar effect. In a recent conversation with Dr. Scott Elkin, he discussed how it is also helpful for tension headaches and demonstrated its effectiveness with some breathing exercises to help a team member.

For further information, read about anxiety counseling, or make a counseling appointment so we can be of help to rule out other potential causes. You can also find more information on how to deal with panic attacks here.

(more research)

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash


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