In common parlance, the term “hyperventilation” doesn’t just mean taking in too much oxygen, which is something we may all be prone to do on a subconscious level. Rather, it usually is a connotative reference to taking in deep gasps of oxygen while filled with a sense of panic and as though you are unable to breathe. There may be serious health problems associated with these moments, especially if they are the product of worry, anxiety and both physical and emotional stress. (If not, there may be physical causes to consider, such as internal bleeding, disorders in your vital organs or the possibility of an infection.) If you suffer from a physical malady, it is important to seek medical treatment for it.

Some of the symptoms, however, of a deep episode of rapid breathing that is brought on by a panic attack or a feeling of being extraordinarily anxious, may be attributed to the excess carbon dioxide that is created when you inhale too much oxygen. Ironically, the feeling of panic you experience could be caused by inhaling too much oxygen; and the tendency to inhale too much oxygen, or hyperventilate, may be caused by the feeling of extreme agitation, anxiety or panic.

Hyperventilation syndrome occurs when you subconsciously take in too much oxygen, sometimes inhaling more than two or three times the levels that your body actually needs. Hyperventilation syndrome is usually caused by stress, or anxiety, which means that it is quite possible to be caught in a vicious cycle of over-breathing and feeling anxious. It’s always helpful to seek psychological counseling when you suffer from extreme anxiety, panic or depression, but understanding this cycle could be a breakthrough for many people, as well.

An increase of carbon dioxide in the blood usually helps to mitigate and calm down the body when it begins to give in to an episode of hyperventilation and rapid breathing. If a friend or family member is going through an episode such as this, it really is helpful to talk them through it. The key is to remain calm and reassure them. If you are having the episode yourself, purse your mouth when you breathe or try to breathe through a single nostril in order to decrease oxygen levels and help carbon dioxide levels to rise in your system.

Other relaxation techniques have been proven to be helpful for people who suffer from rapid breathing and panic attacks due to hyperventilation. The Buteyko method has been proven effective as a relaxation technique and way to regulate breathing and improve the lives and health of many people who suffer from anxiety and the physical manifestations of anxiety as well.

Hyperventilation Treatment – You can stop hyperventilation problems. The Buteyko Center offers a free breathing test online and a free Buteyko Health Evaluation report with our recommendations. The test will help you determine if you hyperventilate and how a trained Buteyko practitioner can help if you do.