In my years of reading on the causes and treatments of anxiety I have come across an interesting idea. As most of you know I primarily rely on medical research for my understanding of these issues but I have noticed a large volume of non-scientific information in using oxygen to treat anxiety and even depression. There are a couple of recent medical articles documenting the use of oxygen to treat depression (see below) but nearly nothing on the use of it for anxiety. However the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat anxiety (use of a decompression room to increase blood oxygen) is well documented in medical literature. Unluckily most of us do not have access to a decompression chamber. The web however is loaded with tons of examples of people using oxygen bars to treat their anxiety as well as oxygen supply systems.
Anxiety, especially extreme anxiety, often leads to hyperventilation, hypoxia (low blood oxygen) and hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide levels in the blood) which in turn can cause respiratory acidosis which we have discussed in detail on this site (see ebook for discussion). Deep breathing exercises have long been a standard of therapy for these conditions. By deep breathing you remove the excess carbon dioxide from the lower reaches of the lungs and increase oxygen uptake. These breathing exercises often help with anxiety.
My thought is that by using a Home Oxygen Concentrator (supplies 90+% oxygen) or a Recreational Oxygen Can (99.5% oxygen) to supply an increased dose of oxygen to the lungs may be able to help reduce anxiety and the symptoms of respiratory acidosis. This would be a similar function as the oxygen bars which many people claim to be very effective in treating anxiety. The same approach could be used to try and treat depression as well. The cans of recreational oxygen run about $10 to $15/can. A Home Oxygen Concentrator will run a person from $350 to $500. From what I have read it appears that a 10 to 20 minute feed of oxygen is enough to releive anxiety and respiratory acidosis (subjective information).
FYI - Outside air is around 21% oxygen while room air runs around 19 to 20%. Is it no wonder that when we go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air we feel better?
Cooler air contains more oxygen than warm air. After a long hot humid summer it is often quite a relief to get that first cool front. It seems much easier to breath than during the stifling summer. We feel refreshed and relieved.
There are several medical journal articles that have established that higher oxygen uptake (hyperbolic chamber) increases the rate of neuron regeneration as well as depression (see below references). Would oxygen use increase the recovery from withdrawal of an AD?
Journal of Neurotrauma. Jan 2012, 29(1): 168-185.
(This research showed no significant benefit for anxiety or depresion)
And many more articles similar to these.