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#233730 - 06/26/08 09:47 AM Anxiety and Panic Demystified
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
After many, many opportunities to practice breathing techniques in an attempt to quench anxiety in a very quick and efficient manner, I have experienced some success, mostly in more recent episodes. I believe I have realized the physiological process in such a way that it can be fully described, and hopefully develop a simple and step by step technique that will bring a suffering person back to a calm and clear state of mind in record time. Perhaps a minute or less.

First I would like to describe the physiology of the state of anxiety (in terms of breathing) and panic as well. It seems that they are both far more dependent on our breathing than has been realized.

When we perceive a fearful event or outcome, and this may be internal or external in nature, we receive a sudden surge of adrenaline from the adrenal glands which sit just above our kidneys (it may be the reason we feel the intense fear first in "the pit of your stomach"). Adrenaline serves to make us more alert, increase our awareness and even modify blood sugar levels. A major secondary effect seems to take place here. Respiration almost always changes to reflect the magnitude of the adrenaline release. It turns out there may be a simple and sound biological explanation for this.

When we breathe faster, we sacrifice a certain amount of lung capacity to accommodate the increase. This sacrificed region is ultimately in the deeper, more branched and narrower regions of our bronchial tubes. Since these deeper alveoli are not being purged, CO2 is allowed to build up to maximum levels. This elevated CO2 can be felt as a very deep and desperate need to breathe more air, and breathe quickly to relieve the unpleasant sensation that results (hyperventilation). This serves another purpose. This rapid, shallow breathing causes our CO2 levels to begin dropping very rapidly, but the CO2 in the “stagnant” portion of our lungs changes very little, if at all. It seems logical that this could be a survival mechanism in a real “fight or flight” situation since it will take significantly longer to build CO2 levels back up to the point of exhaustion.

For a person who severely internalized, phobic, or hypersensitized, these sensations can be very unpleasant for some and downright disturbing for others. When the individual realizes this sudden change of state of well-being, the result is apprehension, alarm, and an even deeper feeling of fear and dread about the familiar yet extremely unpleasant sensations arises. In a further attempt to prepare for disaster, another large surge of adrenaline is released. All of the same physiological responses are re-experienced, except it is intensified because adrenaline levels did not have sufficient time to return to baseline (it is processed by the liver).

For a highly phobic person, if he/she is heavily focused on these symptoms, this can quickly progress to a state of panic.

Based on this information, I have come up with a few simple (hopefully) steps to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

First, take as deep a breath as you comfortably can (the diaphragm will likely be very tense at this point, and a deep breath may be difficult which is fine). Then, allow your lungs to empty naturally by opening your mouth (or let it out through your nose, just make sure you blow it first), and keep letting it flow out of your body by it’s own pressure until no more air is leaving. This is where the magic begins, so this part is very, very important!!!

Do not move or change anything at this point. Do not push more air out, do not take another breath, just allow your entire body to relax right along with the effortlessly emptied lungs. If you feel any tension at all in your diaphragm at this point, check to make sure you are not holding in your stomach, allow it to stick out if it does so naturally. Maintain this state for at least 4 seconds. The first thing you might notice is that you are not craving air. You’re not breathing, but at the same time the sensation of being out of breath is not demanding your attention. Now take another deeper, slower breath, this time breathing all the way down toward your stomach, and let it out again, returning to the same “neutral” state as before, and maintaining this state for an amount of time you are comfortable with (anywhere from 3-6 seconds should be fine). Repeat this a few more times and see what happens. Hopefully, you will be back in a calm and peaceful state as though there was never any problem.

Two things are happening here. First, by exhaling and counting to 4, you are allowing a moment for the CO2 levels in your blood to re-establish. Second, the subsequent slow, deep breath purges the stagnant CO2 that sits deep within your lungs.

I don't want this to sound too "know it all" or anything like that, I would like feedback on this and if possible some subjects to give it a try and share with me the results. It just might be that this is something that only works for me, so I won't be hurt if you tell me it did nothing for you!

Thanks guys!

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#235041 - 07/01/08 07:15 PM Re: Anxiety and Panic Demystified [Re: cbfull]
dancr6 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/07
Posts: 383
Loc: georgia
Craig, I have a few breathing techniques that I use and this one seems valuable. It was very relaxing and easy to do. I have been using the breathing techniques I learned from working with "The Journey to Wild Divine". I have modified them also and found them to be helpful. Your explanation of the phisiology is terrific and people that I have told about breathing usually want to know the why's about it's effects so I've printed your post without your name or avatar to show around. Thanks for a succinct explanation.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#237215 - 07/10/08 10:09 AM Re: Anxiety and Panic Demystified [Re: dancr6]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
Thanks so much for your response. I think that most people aren't really willing to give the breath control a try because the whole experience tends to sweep people so completely away.

I sort of discovered that the "release" of the breath is crucial. I felt the tension leave my diaphragm and the anxiety stopped dead in it's tracks. I am much less reliant on my anxiety meds now, which is great.

I hope more people can learn something from this, anxiety and panic can really rob someone of the joys of life.

Thanks again!

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#237234 - 07/10/08 12:52 PM Re: Anxiety and Panic Demystified [Re: cbfull]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
craig as a singer, i can attest to the idea behind what you are saying. breathing is just down right healthy. mindful breathing is even better. the practice of measured and metered breathing can bring a great deal of ease into the psychic energy of a person.

ron

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#239993 - 07/24/08 02:54 PM . [Re: Sans Logos]
bardo213 Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 811
.


Edited by bardo213 (06/21/13 05:14 PM)

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#240137 - 07/25/08 09:56 AM Re: Anxiety and Panic Demystified [Re: bardo213]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
Lynchmob,

I notice that your recovery efforts are really starting to show in your posts. The last few posts of yours that I have read are a strong contrast to past posts. Not that there was anything wrong with your older posts, of course!

What you say is correct, and there's another thing about the breath control that should be said. Often the breath control is necessary just to keep up with a physiologically induced anxious state. For example lets say are sensitive to stimilants and you consume too much caffeine. The breathing will not eliminate the caffeine, but it will bring calamity to you while you are doing it. You must keep practicing it until the caffeine wears off.

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#240164 - 07/25/08 01:31 PM . [Re: cbfull]
bardo213 Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 811
.


Edited by bardo213 (06/21/13 05:14 PM)

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