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‘Crisis candies’: Woman’s therapist told her to use Warheads to stop panic attacks

“Getting a Cosco sized barrel of warheads tomorrow.”

 

V Roth

IRL

A woman has shared her therapist’s weird hack for stopping a panic attack before it can begin— using sour Warheads candy.

TikTok user TalkingTaylor (@taylor.talking) shared this advice in a video from last week. Filming herself chewing on a piece of Warheads candy, she says, “My therapist told me to eat a Warhead whenever I’m feeling a panic attack coming on.” She grimaces from the intense sour flavor and continues, “And when I say I’ve never had anything rip me out of the throes of a f***ing panic attack faster, I f***ing mean it.”

By Monday, Taylor’s video had over 1.3 million views.

@taylor.talking Oof #anxiety #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters ♬ original sound – TalkingTaylor

Many commenters were surprised by Taylor’s therapist’s methods, but curious to try it out for themselves.

“Getting a Cosco sized barrel of warheads tomorrow,” one user wrote.

“I am so trying this. My doctor is weaning me off my anxiety meds and it’s a bumpy ride.” another shared.

Some therapists and social workers also weighed in, sharing similar hacks for managing panic attacks.

“I recommend Altoids for my clients who don’t want to use warheads,” one wrote.

“When I worked at the children’s home, we called them crisis candies lmao,” another shared.

Mental health professionals agree that the Warhead method works, by redirecting attention away from the panic attack, toward a healthier, but distracting, stimulus. In an article by Nebraska Medicine, psychiatric social worker Chantel Bruha shares the same advice, of using Warheads as a distraction from the panic attack.

“Sucking on sour candy, like a Warhead, is another technique to shift your attention,” she wrote. “If you don’t have any sour candies around, you might try something else with a strong flavor – hot sauce, horseradish, or wasabi – instead.”

In an interview for Health.com, associate medical director and psychiatrist at Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center, Toya Roberson-Moore, MD, explained how this works.

“Panic ensues when our amygdala triggers the flight or fight response. One way to dampen our amygdala’s response and mitigate panic is by turning our attention to the present moment through our senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing,” she wrote. “Sour candy shifts our attention quickly to the sense of taste, intensely, which in turn dampens our amygdala (the feeling part of the brain) and gives us better access to our frontal cerebral cortex (the thinking part of our brain).”

Peppermint was also recommended as a distraction for panic attacks. A 2019 study by the Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences found that inhaling peppermint oil offered a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Many commenters on Taylor’s video shared their own experiences with trying out the sour candy hack, and expressed that they’ve had success with it.

“I just started doing this.. it works. I give sours to my daughter when she can’t regulate too,” one wrote.

“I always carry sour candy and mini salt packets because of my panic attacks,” another shared.

The Daily Dot reached out to Taylor via TikTok comment.

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