Panic attack cures: Why you SHOULDN’T use salt to help anxiety attack – expert

Panic attacks: Doctor details symptoms and effective treatments

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Youtuber and TikToker Eric B Zinc has been preaching about the power of salt during an anxiety attack across the internet. The hack involves shaking a packet of salt into your mouth in order to stop the panic attack in its tracks, but is this really wise? chatted to Dr Becky Spelman, psychologist and clinical director of Private Therapy Clinic to find out.

Does salt help with anxiety attacks?

A TikTok video by @ericbzink sharing how salt can stop panic attacks has amassed more than 411,000 likes and 22,000 shares.

In the video, the content creator, who frequently shares mental health tips, claims you can trick your brain out of a panic or anxiety attack.

He explains: “Next time that you feel an anxiety attack coming on – that rush of emotions, you can feel your heart rate start to race, you can feel it start to move up into your chest, your skin feels like it has ants crawling underneath it, you start to feel paralysed – you have a little bit of time to bring your brain out of here and back to reality.”


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The unusual hack involves opening a small sachet of salt and pouring the contents onto your tongue.

The Tiktoker claims: “The salt has such a strong taste that it will pull your brain out of here and into your mouth, into that flavour.

“The next thing you know, your brain wants to do a series of events.

“It’s going to want to grab something to drink and as you’re doing this you’re grounding yourself and fighting off your anxiety attack.”

While you might be tempted to try this hack, psychologist Dr Spelman says it’s a bad idea.

She explained: “No one should be eating salt in relation to staving off panic attacks.

“This is a safety-seeking behaviour – a term used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to describe a behaviour that may be perceived to provide instant relief but is not helpful in the long run in addressing the actual problem.”

A similar misconception is that blowing into a paper bag can help you deal with panic attacks, but again this isn’t true.

Dr Spelman said: “Both activities simply provide a crutch to manage the symptoms rather than tackling the actual objective of removing the fear of having a panic attack.

“By simply using tactics to cope through the experience rather than learning how to manage the fear and anxiety, the problem is not actually being solved.”

Panic attack cures

Instead of trying strange online hacks, Dr Spelman recommends going to some CBT sessions or reading up on CBT techniques.

She pointed out: “Established CBT techniques if practised over time, will demonstrate that rather than avoiding panic attacks, we can learn not to avoid them but to address the panic disorder at a base level which will eventually eliminate the attacks.

“CBT therapists are best placed to guide and support sufferers through this process.”

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