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How to Reduce Asthma Attacks and Panic Attacks by Retraining Your Breathing


by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

What do asthma attacks and panic attacks have in common, besides the fact that they’re both more likely during a disaster?

They both cause you to hyperventilate (breathe faster), which in turn makes them worse.

There’s a breathing technique that can help stop the cycle. But it’s the opposite of what you probably think. It’s not deep breathing; it’s slow, shallow breathing. And practicing it can even help prevent attacks from coming on. But you have to learn to do it properly—preferably straight from a professional.

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How to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos

How to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

I used to be like one of those fainting goats. If I saw an accident or was in danger, my mind just shut off. Apparently, something inside me thought, if I ignore it, it’ll go away.

But that was before I got into medicine. Now I know that there’s a good possibility that if I don’t take charge right away, worse things will happen. If you’re reading this, you’re likely to someday be in this situation also.

But how to stay calm and take leadership? I have a few suggestions.

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Coping With Loss

Coping With Loss / The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

This summer in Colorado Springs, with over 300 houses in flames, there were firefighters trying to save salvageable homes while they knew theirs were burning to the ground. How do you cope with that?

Most who deal in rescues know you don’t—at least right then. You put it in a little corner of the back of your mind, and it smolders … and smolders. If you don’t finally deal with it, it can (like the fire to the houses) permanently damage, even destroy you, both mentally and physically.

Whether it be injury, death, loss of property, or loss of a way of life, coping with loss is central to moving on. As a doctor, I’ve seen too many times of major loss to remember them all. And like most of you, I’ve experienced it also.

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Why Am I Depressed When I Should Be Happy?

Why Am I Depressed When I Should Be Happy? | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

What to do about depression was a question not easily answered back when I started practicing. There were really no good medical options. The few drugs available had major side effects. Psychotherapy helped, but good therapists were few and far between where I lived.

And then there was the stigma. Everyone thought any mental problem meant you were weak of mind and body. A strong person just toughed it out and suffered in silence.

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8 Natural Anxiety Relievers: Which Ones Really Work; Which One Can Be Deadly

8 Natural Anxiety Relievers: Which Ones Really Work; Which One Can Be Deadly | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Just ask anyone who survived a natural disaster, or has health or financial problems or family issues: anxiety can get you down. Top it with an uncertain future, and it can be downright debilitating.

If it gets too bad, you go to a doctor or therapist, but what if there came a time you couldn’t get there. What natural anxiety relievers could help?

If you’re under some stress right now, you might even want to give a couple a test run so you’ll know what works in the future. Of course, always check with your doctor since none of these can take the place of expert medical care.

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Panic Attacks: What to Do for Your Worst Nightmare

Artist Brad Siskin's representation of a panic attack.

Artist Brad Siskin’s representation of a panic attack.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Anyone preparing for a disaster needs to know what to do for a panic attack. We’re all susceptible during extreme stress. No matter how stoic or brave you are, it could happen, and for that period of time, you’re totally disabled. You can’t think straight or physically do much of anything.

Those of you who have experienced a panic attack (anxiety attack) know what I mean. If you haven’t, try to think of a time when you were most afraid, maybe it was just for a second, but you thought you were going to die. Now, imagine having that feeling for ten, fifteen minutes or more.

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