About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Emotional Distress Activated by Carbon Dioxide in Healthy People

by Medindia Content Team on October 3, 2007 at 7:41 PM
Font : A-A+

Emotional Distress Activated by Carbon Dioxide in Healthy People

A new study by researchers at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands has shown that inhalation of carbon dioxide (CO2) triggers emotional distress and a panic response in healthy people.

The researchers say that their findings may be relevant for a better understanding of the inborn survival-oriented response among certain people, besides providing for further prevention of emotional disorders.


According to them, scientists have for long known that small amounts of CO2 provoke a panic reaction in certain anxiety-prone individuals.

They say that the "False Suffocation Alarm theory" that posits that panic attacks and anxiety may derive from the dysfunction of a biological "CO2 sensor", evolutionarily designed to alert the organism in case of impending death by suffocation, is a result of this knowledge.

During the study, published in PLoS ONE, the researchers set out to test whether such a CO2 sensing alarm system does exist, and whether CO2 effectively controls emotional states.

Sixty-four healthy subjects were assigned to perform four double inhalations of increasing doses of CO2 (from 0 to 35 per cent), and were assessed with self-report questionnaires.

The researchers say that the procedure induced a strictly dose-dependent negative emotion amongst the subjects. The higher the CO2 concentration, the stronger the panic was observed, they add.

However, older subjects exhibited a weaker reaction, suggesting that the underlying protective brain alarm may be blunted in the elderly.

Based on their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that beyond a particular threshold, increased CO2 has an impact on people's mental state, yielding negative psychotropic properties. They believe that this knowledge may be relevant in the prevention of emotional disorders.

The researchers also say that in future, scientists may use CO2 inhalation in healthy volunteers as a valid experimental model, among other in psycho pharmacological research.

Another significance of the study's findings, according to the researchers, is that they posit panic as an inborn response, expressing the struggle for life in case of impending death.

They say that the generation of negative emotions from the disruption of a bodily function highlights the close link between physical condition and mental stress

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Charcoal Healthy Gifting Ideas for Diwali Psychological Defence Mechanisms Temper Tantrum in Children Emotional Healing 

Recommended Reading
Carbon Dioxide Emission Might Alter Ocean Chemistry Completely by 2050
It has been revealed that at the current rate of carbon dioxide emission, the ocean chemistry will ....
What More can You Ask For?
Studies have confirmed that rapeseed biofuel 'produces more and more greenhouse gas than oil or ......
Tiny Ceramic Tubes Could Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Tiny tubes made from an advance ceramic material could cut greenhouse gas emissions from power ......
Do you know how a piece of charcoal can save you from snakebites and poisoning? Read more to know th...
Emotional Healing
Emotional healing is the ability to take proper control of painful thoughts, feelings and emotions. ...
Healthy Gifting Ideas for Diwali
Diwali, the festival of lights is round the corner. Take a fat free route when it comes to gifting t...
Psychological Defence Mechanisms
Defense mechanisms help with the coping strategy of the human mind to reduce stress and anxiety caus...
Temper Tantrum in Children
Temper tantrum is an attention seeking behavior in young children who cannot control or express thei...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use