Saturday, May 14, 2011

Respiration, CO2 and PTSD

A new study entitled "The effects of CO2 inhalation in patients with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)", published in the journal European Psychiatry, examines the link between the "psychometric effects of CO2 on panic anxiety and PTSD symptoms in subjects with PTSD."

I can't access the entire paper, but there is previous research linking getting too much carbon dioxide (and at the same time not getting enough oxygen) with anxiety disorders (especially in children).

What does all of this suggest? Nothing conclusive.

But it does lead us to remember one key word:


1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately the key word is not "Breathe". Too much CO2 or too little CO2 can cause panic symptoms. Panic Disordered individuals and individuals with PTSD share a sensitivity to internal and external cues. Introducing too much CO2 is toxic to the human body( just like too much Oxygen can also be toxic to the body). CO2 must be kept in the right range (between 35 and 45 mlHG). Taking deep inhaling breath's often lowers CO2 below the 35 ml mark and it is rare under normal conditions for someone to get too much CO2. In hospital settings while a client is undergoing surgery or anesthesia the risks of getting too much CO2 are more common. In either case the situation is life threatening and interferes with the delivery of O2 to the cells of the body. This paper only shows that panic disorder and PTSD patients show increased arousal and reactivity to overexposure to CO2. Research also shows that Panic Disorder and PTSD are chronic Overbreathers and have low CO2 (hypocapnia) levels due to breathing too much, not too little.