Physiological or psychological reaction to acute anxiety may include a quickening of the involuntary respiration rate, resulting per minute ventilation exceeding the needs of an individual’s metabolism. This excessive discharge of carbon dioxide produces hypocapnia and respiratory alkalosis. In some cases, because there is a sense of hypoxic air suction, the individual will experience higher anxiety, repeated involuntary shallow and fast breathing patterns.
1. Originating from stress, food or drugs, various stimulants including emotional stress, work stress, coffee, tea, alcohol have been confirmed to cause hyperventilation syndrome.
2. Negative emotions (such as: anger, fear, stress, etc.) may be induced by the long-term accumulation of negative emotions which leads to dysfunction of the autonomous nervous system, and induces cases of non-autonomous rapid shallow breathing patterns and sense of hypoxia.
Suffers will experience rapid shallow breathing patterns for about one minute, followed by the symptoms below:
1. Heart: chest distress, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath
2. Nervous system: dizziness, headache, numbness in hands, feet or face
3. Gastrointestinal system: bloating, indigestion, flatulence or dry mouth
4. Fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, lack of exercise endurance
Since the sufferer will usually have overall systemic symptoms’ response, doctors generally recommend related medical examinations.
Those prone to Hyperventilation Syndrome include:
1. Gender: Male: Female = 1:7
2. Age: 13 to 30 year-old females or 15 to 55 year-old individuals
3. Past History: Mitral Valve Prolapse
4. Personality: Type A personality (rapid movers, perfectionists)
5. Lifestyle: People who are facing change in interpersonal relationships, work or life
1. There is no specific medicine for this; identifying the root cause(s) is the fundamental path toward relief.
2. If you need to take medicine to relieve symptoms, follow the doctor's orders regarding use of anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives.
3. Psychological treatment, muscle relaxation training, meditation or hypnosis therapy is helpful.
4. Abdominal breathing has proven effective in clinical situations.
5. Unless one is certain that there is no respiratory disease, it is not recommended to breathe into a paper bag.
1. Vent negative emotions appropriately and do not intentionally suppress your emotions.
2. Get to know the early symptoms of hyperventilation so as to reminding yourself to relax and breathe slowly.
3. If hyperventilation is recurring, seek appropriate consultation (such as with a psychiatrist) to identify and deal with the origin of negative emotions.
4. Anyone assisting must not be as nervous as the sufferer, as this will lead to a worse flare up. Simply accompany the person with calm emotions to best help the sufferer. Please remind the sufferer to breathe slowly and take deep abdominal breaths; this will help that person to calm down within 5 to 10 minutes and the symptoms can be relieved.
5. Individuals prone to hyperventilation should avoid staying up late, using ecstasy, amphetamines or other drugs, taking coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages.