Breathing Into A Paper Bag Can Helpful During An Anxiety Attack?

Breathing into a paper bag has become a symbol of hyperventilating and anxiety attacks. It’s used to help balance your breathing.

This technique is helpful during an anxiety attack and panic attack because it can help regulate hyperventilation.

Hyperventilation or “overbreathing” happens when you have rapid or shallow breathing. People having an anxiety or panic attack sometimes hyperventilate.

When you hyperventilate, you exhale too much air. This can decrease the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) you have in your blood.

But isn’t less carbon dioxide good for you? Actually, having very low carbon dioxide levels in your blood causes an imbalance in your body.

Low carbon dioxide also leads to low oxygen levels. This can lower blood and oxygen flow to your brain.

Symptoms of low CO2 levels

Low blood carbon dioxide causes many of the symptoms you have when you hyperventilate, like:

  • shortness of breath
  • lightheartedness
  • fast heart rate
  • numbness or tingling in hands, face, and other areas
  • achy chest muscles
  • fainting

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