Many panic attack sufferers as well as doctors recommend breathing into a paper bag as an effective short-term treatment of an acute panic attack. However, this treatment has been criticised by others as ineffective and possibly hazardous to the patient, even potentially worsening the panic attack. They say it can fatally lower oxygen levels in the blood stream, and increase carbon dioxide levels, which in turn has been found to be a major cause of panic attacks.
It is therefore important to discover whether hyperventilation is truly involved in each case. If it is, then rebalancing the oxygen/CO2 levels in the blood and/or re-establishing an even, measured breathing pattern is an appropriate treatment which may be also achieved by extending the outbreath either by counting or even humming.