Can Inhalers Help With Anxiety?
Inhalers can be lifesaving for those who are having an asthma attack. They can improve breathing and allow more oxygen into the lungs and blood. When someone is having an asthma attack, the lungs are having trouble breathing because of inflammation.
This inflammation makes the airway passages narrow and unable to get enough air in to breathe. Without immediate help, the outcomes can be life-threatening. Having asthma also increases your chances of having a panic disorder by 4x.
An asthma attack can mimic an anxiety attack and vice versa. Having anxiety can make asthma worse, and vice versa. (Can you see a pattern here?) So, since an inhaler can help asthma, can you use an inhaler for anxiety? What kind of inhalers are there? Are they all the same?
It can be confusing when trying to find treatments to help anxiety. There are many ways, natural and medicinal, to help anxiety. Read more below about using an inhaler for anxiety.
What is a Medical Inhaler?
An inhaler is a small tube of solution that can be used to send medicine into the lungs. The medicine is inhaled through a plastic tube and held in the lungs. The medicine can now absorb into the lungs and improve breathing.
There are two types of medicinal inhalers: control and rescue. A control inhaler is used every day to help prevent asthma attacks and symptoms. A rescue inhaler is used as a quick help for those who need it immediately.
People with asthma may sometimes need to use the control inhaler every day, regardless of if they’re having symptoms. The rescue inhaler is used for many reasons.
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Symptoms of asthma
- Before going around something that may trigger your asthma
- When having an asthma attack
A rescue inhaler, while great for the short-term, doesn’t treat symptoms in the long run. Consistent use of a rescue inhaler might suggest you need a control inhaler for daily use.
Albuterol is a medication that can treat and prevent symptoms of asthma. It is used in patients who have conditions that alter their breathing and ability to breathe. Albuterol is prescribed in an inhaler for those who are having trouble breathing.
Most inhalers are a form of albuterol solution. Albuterol is a bronchodilator. This simply means that it allows them to open and relax when it reaches the lungs, making it easier to breathe.
While it’s important to realize the benefits of Albuterol, we must not forget the side effects. Some of the side effects of Albuterol can be:
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Back, bone, or muscle pain
- Throat irritation
- Difficulty swallowing
How Can it Help Anxiety?
We experience shortness of breath during an anxiety attack because our anxiousness has changed our breathing patterns. This is because we aren’t normally aware of our breathing unless we bring our attention to it.
During anxious times, our breathing can become restricted and shallow. These short, choppy breaths can lead to hyperventilation.
Hyperventilation is when the carbon dioxide levels in the blood decrease because of over-breathing. When this happens too quickly, we can experience chest pain, dry mouth, numbness, and tingling. It may also lead to confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
This is why you see people breathing into paper bags. It might look ridiculous, but the bag is actually capturing the carbon dioxide and holding it for you to breathe back in. This can increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and help you regain control of your lungs.
When someone hyperventilates, their heart rate increases, as well as their anxiety as they start to panic, their panic can lead to further chest pain and shortness of breath, creating an evil loop of anxiety and breathlessness. An inhaler can allow someone to regain control of their breathing.
A rescue inhaler is probably the best option for having a panic attack because it allows quicker control over-breathing.
Regardless of if the breathing is affected by asthma or anxiety, an inhaler can improve symptoms associated with trouble breathing. It’s important, however, to always speak with a physician when trying out something new.
What About an Aromatherapy Nasal Inhaler?
In recent times, essential oils may have become a cure for what ails you. They are said to improve stress, sleep, mood, breathing, digestion, congestion, and so much more. They can now come in the form of an inhaler.
An aromatherapy nasal inhaler comes in the form of a pen or tube that you can inhale to benefit from a set of essential oils. Many even look like a tube of Chapstick. You remove the lid and hold it close to your nose and inhale the scent.
There are various scents in an aromatherapy nasal inhaler. The scent will depend on the symptoms you are trying to help.
- Peppermint can help nausea and breathing.
- Eucalyptus may improve breathing and anxiety.
- Menthol can help mental alertness and breathing.
- Lavender can help with stress and anxiety.
- Citrus scents can help with mood and fatigue.
- Tea tree oil is beneficial for acne and lice.
- Lemon helps with exhaustion and reduces inflammation.
Studies show that essential oils may be beneficial for various problems such as pain, infections, and depression. It is hard to research essential oils, so research on safety and effectiveness is scarce. However, the few studies that have been published show the benefits of these essential oils. An aromatherapy nasal inhaler for anxiety could have its benefits. It is small and easy to take with you on the go, making it easier to use under severe circumstances. With the right essential oils and used correctly, aromatherapy nasal inhalers can be beneficial for anxiety.
4. https://www.verywellmind.com/shortness-of-breath-2584249#:~:text=When%20panic%20and%20anxiety%20occur,in%20the%20blood%20to%20decrease. 5. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/what-does-research-say-about-essential-oils