Today we’re going to figure out if you should breathe into a paper bag when having a panic attack.
The topic is actually explained really well in this book here.
I’ll be honest, I thought this was a joke when I saw people do it on TV.
But apparently it’s a real thing.
So let’s apply it to panic attacks.
Let’s get into it though.
Should you breathe into a paper bag when having a panic attack?
It’s worth a try. The idea is to breathe better with the paper bag. The paper bag should help put CO2 back in your blood. It also helps reverse the buildup of acidity inside of your brain. But if nothing is done, unconsciousness could happen.
The paper bag helps you breathe better because it helps regulate your natural flow of breathing.
The issue that you’re trying to fix is called hyperventilation.
Hyperventilating is just the act of breathing too fast.
If you’re breathing too much, you’ll end up having too low levels of carbon dioxide.
There’s a reason why when you go to the doctor they check for this issue – making sure you’re getting enough air.
Breathing in the bag puts lost carbon dioxide back into your lungs (we’ll get into it later, but there’s more).
In normal breathing, it properly allows you to have a regular respiratory system.
During a panic attack, this is why you’re gasping and struggling to get more air.
The paper bag has concentrated air inside of it, and it gets your ph back to normal.
Myhealth Alberta recommends that you take at least 6-12 breaths in order for it to work best.
You can get a regular paper bag at your local grocery store if you wanna know where to get one.
You want to make sure that the air you’re breathing is clear too.
Put CO2 back in your blood
First of all, CO2 is your blood oxygen levels.
The only reason you would have less of this in your system is through hyperventilating (breathing too hard).
Because of this episode of breathing too hard, this is why most victims end up having symptoms like being light headed or being dizzy.
This is why you want normal levels of carbon dioxide in your blood.
CO2 is normally made in your brain, and when you have a lot of exhales from having a panic attack (and inhaling unnatural sources of this chemical) leads to a lower PH level and increases fear.
It’s all about balancing the levels that our body needs to function in order to avoid the symptoms discussed before.
The cycle is the faster we breathe, the faster we lose carbon dioxide, and ultimately the faster we produce PH in our blood (making it harder to have a normal tempo with our breathing).
We normally want to keep our PH level at 7.4 in our blood and that’s from the combination of all the chemical sources that we mentioned before.
But hyperventilating is what throws those numbers off.
Reverse acidity in the brain
Another reason you would have these panic attacks are from too high of acid levels in the brain.
There’s two common things that would play a role in the lack of production or over producing of acid in our brain – that’s lactate and co2.
Co2 is usually more common because that’s what can usually get altered in the air that everybody breathes.
Now you may think that it’s a bad thing to have any acid in your brain, but there is some that’s important for a normal function.
That’s where our PH level is an important thing to focus on when we’re trying to have normal levels of the different chemicals in our body.
Again, a key word in the focus of this whole level is balance.
An imbalance in either way (too much or too little of any chemical) is the thing that causes a lot of these problems.
In this case an imbalance of these acid levels is what can cause these panic attacks to happen.
A study from the National Library of Medicine confirm these findings as well.
Let’s stay woke
One thing that you could have happen to you if your panic attack gets worse is going unconscious.
You can lose consciousness when your blood pressure gets too high (which usually rises from stress).
It’s pretty unlikely that it would happen.
It would mainly happen if the time you’re going through this episode goes on for longer than 10-15 minutes (The common amount of time a panic attack goes on for).
You could think of a panic attack as a really bad trip, and like most “trips“ if you have trouble managing the feelings that you’re going through, it could lead to passing out.
The best feeling that could sum up the feeling of a panic attack is drowning, however death is usually one of the rarest things to ever happen from this type of “drowning.”
In a way, you become your own worse enemy during this episode of freaking out and losing consciousness is the body’s way of telling yourself to calm down.
But in this case, and in most other cases it’s usually a bad idea to lose consciousness.
Everybody’s body reacts differently, and allowing yourself to get that excited takes power (in this case, the power of consciousness and being aware) away from you.
And who would want that?
So to sum things up, yes, a paper bag could be a cheap and effective method of fighting a panic attack.
It’ll help you breathe better, put more CO2 back in your blood, regulate the acid base levels in your brain and help you avoid losing consciousness from freaking out.
As a thank you as always to the reader for making it this far, here’s a video that breaks down the topic as well.
On top of that, there’s some reading material that would benefit you greatly if you were to grab a copy.
You can find the link to it if you scroll up to the top of the page.
But other than that, look out for the next post.
See you then!
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