|The word hysteria has come to mean the extreme behavior exhibited at time of high emotion. This can be positive emotion, for example, delight at a pop concert, or negative emotion, for example, the shock of hearing bad news. Hiccups are caused by an involuntary contraction of diaphragm, the muscle that separates the lung and stomach cavities. They are very common and although not serious can be irritating and tiring if an attack continues.
Although this type of behavior may appear to be extreme, the affected person’s feelings are very real to him or her. Hysteria is often a common and, some would argue, healthy response to situations of high stress.
- Speak to the affected person firmly but quietly. Do not shout at her.
- Move the person away from onlookers as subconsciously she may be reacting to the crowd.
- Encourage the person to focus on breathing. If she is suffering from the effects of hyperventilation, such as cramps in the hands or dizziness, hand over a paper bag and advise her to breathe her own exhaled air.
- Stay with the person until she has recovered.
- Check the person for injury or any underlying medical condition, and treat as appropriate.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HYSTERIA
- Screaming, shouting, and uncontrollable crying
- Hyperventilation (breathing too fast)—this may lead to dizziness and, or trembling
- An apparent inability to move (the person may appear to be rooted to the spot)
- Aggressive behavior (the person may direct this toward himself)
Attacks of hiccups usually last for only a few minutes and are not serious. There are many home remedies for treating hiccups, such as holding the breath or drinking a glass of water from the wrong side.
To control hiccups or a panic attack, a person should breathe in and out slowly into a paper bag 10 times then breathe normally for another 10 breathes. This should continued until breathing is normal.
There are various suggested treatments for hiccups.
- Give the affected person a paper bag and encourage her to re-breathe her own exhaled air.
- Make the person drink from the wrong side of a cup.
- Tell the person to hold her breath for as long as possible.
All these treatments work by increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the blood, which has a positive effect on breathing.
If hiccups persist for more than 30 minutes, or the person is exhausted, seek medical advice.
Panic attacks are sudden instances of extreme anxiety accompanied by alarming physical symptoms such as chest pains, breathing problems, sweating, stomach pains, palpitations (awareness of an abnormally fast heartbeat) dizziness, and faintness. The best way to treat this to encourage the sufferer to stay calm and to remember that the attack will soon pass. Rapid, shallow breathing can be helped by breathing into a paper bag. Relaxation exercises can help a person reduce anxiety levels. If a person has a frequent panic attacks, she should see a doctor.