Anxiety and Panic attacks

Hyperventilation (over breathing) and anxiety form a vicious circle, one fuelling to the other. The process may be initiated from either end. One person will experience anxiety, leading to hyperventilation; another will hyperventilate leading to feelings of rising anxiety and/or panic

Hyperventilation causes the arterial Carbon dioxide to fall. When Carbon dioxide falls below an optimal level,  less oxygen is released from the blood to the cells and tissues (known as the ‘Bohr Effect’ and the ‘Oxy-Haemoglobin Dissociation Curve’). In addition a drop in CO2 can result in  vaso-constriction reducing the flow of oxygenated blood. Cerebral blood vessels are particularly susceptible and these factors contribute to a reduction in oxygen to  the brain. This is called cerebral hypoxia. This reduction in oxygen supply to the brain results in stress hormones such as adrenalin being produced. This in turn can trigger a stress, or fight of flight response, with an increase in breathing experienced  as  a panic attack, also called a hyperventilation attack.

The Buteyko Institute Method program teaches people how to change their dysfunctional breathing pattern. This can help , reduce acute anxiety producing hyperventilation, thereby alleviating the resultant anxiety and panic. The BIM also teaches participants how to train their breathing, achieving a more normal and stable pattern. The result is that they may no longer have to live constantly with anxiety or in a state of fight or flight.