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Warheads candy going viral as fast-acting solution to panic attacks

​Warheads are notorious for their sour taste — and it turns out, that's exactly what's tricking the brain to move past the anxiety.
Warheads candy going viral as fast-acting solution to panic attacks
Posted at 1:16 PM, Dec 05, 2023

A treatment for panic attacks is going viral, and it may not be what you expect.

In a TikTok video viewed more than 2 million times, a woman claims her therapist told her to have a Warheads candy when she feels a panic attack coming on — and experts actually agree. 

"I thought I was the only therapist that was recommending this to clients," TikTok user @giveintolove, who is a school therapist, responded in a stitched TikTok video.

Warheads are notorious for their sour taste — and turns out, that's exactly what's helping ease the anxiety.

The brain can only handle one emergency at a time, so introducing the initial shock from the sour candy moves the brain away from the panic, so it can manage the shock from the flavor.

"If you give your brain a new emergency to worry about, then it has to focus on that, instead of the thing that you're panicking about," said the therapist, whose name is listed only as Kelly, in her TikTok video.

Similarly, other intense flavors or temperatures can have the same effect.

"Intense temperatures, or sour or spicy foods, will give you a new emergency and therefore let go of that anxious panic thought that you're having," Kelly explained.

Others in the industry agree.

Mental health counselor Catherine Del Toro said she too keeps Warheads in her office, calling them a "therapy hack."

"Panic ensues when our amygdala triggers the flight or fight response," she told USA Today. "When eating something sour or spicy, you are promoting a grounding technique that encourages you to focus on the present moment, stops the spiral of fear and communicates to your brain that you are not in real danger, thereby allowing the panic attack to slow in intensity and eventually stop altogether."

Other treats that could do the trick include strong mints or fireball candy.

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