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shortness of breath...all the time....

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Old 06-25-2006, 03:18 PM   #1
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aquarius72 HB User
shortness of breath...all the time....

does anyone out there with anxiety/panic attacks have bouts of shortness of breath? i have this on a daily's very mom always notices when i'm taking deep breaths and calls me on it (are you still having trouble breathing?), so much that i don't even want to go out to lunch/dinner or be around her that much anymore, or anyone else for that happens even when i'm calm as can be, after a yoga class, during yoga class, when i'm by myself grocery shopping, if i'm out on a girl's night out, etc...I HATE IT... doctors have said it's anxiety related. i had an ekg done about 4 years ago (i think that's what it was, where they kind of do an ultrasound type thing of your heart)...and it was fine. although i hear now never to fully trust those tests (i hear the nucleaur heart test is the one to get).

i just always feel like something is severely wrong with my heart. i can never seem to get enough oxygen. to the point where i even feel really tired/fatigued a lot of times because of it. it gets worse when i'm eating. always has. i've just had it with this. right now i keep taking deep breaths and it takes about 5 of them until i feel i can get enough oxygen. i work out 5x a week and i feel like an idiot on the treadmill or in a class because i'm always taking these deep breaths...i was on zoloft for about 3 years, and it did help it subside, if i can remember correctly. i weaned myself off because i thougth i didn't need it anymore, but now i know i desperately do need it.

when i feel a panic attack coming on (and they always come on when i'm out and it takes longer than usual to catch a good breath, that's what always brings on a panic attack, not being able to catch my breath), i'll take a half a xanax and i'm immediately able to breathe again (can't take xanax every day though, even half of one makes me soooooooo tired i can barely function).

i'm also clausterphobic and can't do elevators, for fear i'll run out of air and won't be able to breathe. anyone else feel like this?

Last edited by aquarius72; 06-25-2006 at 03:19 PM.

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Old 06-25-2006, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

I also have days when i feel like this. Sometimes it goes on for days then im ok for a few days and it starts all over again. I get it while resting or while doing any little thing. I also have been told its anxiety and when i would take an ativan it would make it better so i guess it was anxiety related. I have had every test out there besides a cardic cath and they all show my heart is fine but i also think that the test can be wrong. I had the nuclear stress test back in april and it showed everything was fine. I have read where they are not always right though that some have had them done and told they had no problems and come to find out they did have blockages, thats what worries me. I am to the point where i hate to go anywhere cause i never know when the breathing problem will start and that sets off the panic attacks. Mine have been better lately i dont feel as stressed as i have the last few months and the breathing is alot better now. I was taking .5mg of ativan a day, half the pill in the a.m. then the other half at nite, you can take the xanax everyday just if it makes you tired lessen your dose thats what i had to do cause a whole .5mg at one time whiped me out. I quit taking it about a week ago to see if i can do this without meds and so far so good but i do have it if things get bad again. Just try to take your mind off it, i know its hard but the way i do it is i figure if its been happening all this time and nothing bad has happend yet then it must be the anxitey espically if the med's help, if it was the heart i dont think they would stop the problem. Just dont feel like your alone cause your not some of us are out here that have the same problem.

Old 06-25-2006, 03:52 PM   #3
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brysonav HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

Aquarius - your post completely describes my situation. I also exercise 5 days and am active in sports and yes, I do get the "breathing thing" when I am exercising, relaxing etc. My really bad attacks are a result of not being able to catch that good breath and can happen at any time. I tried Zoloft for a year a while ago and like you cannot recall whether it helped or not. I stopped to zoloft cold turkey with no probs. My doctor gave me xanax .25 to take and it does take the problem away but even a half leaves me with a hangover type tiredness the next day so I only take it about once a month. I have tried recently tried mindfulness mediation (i bought a how-to from amazon) that basically has you focus on the breath and brings you into the present. I find it works and is relaxing, probably because I am so fearful of losing my breath that this is sort of a way to condition myself to it if that makes sense. Lately, I have just started to ignore it and this has been the best approach. If you exercise like you do and had a problem with your heart you would know it. The tiredness is probably just from the anxiety itself as I know how taxing it can be to struggle with the constant fear that you will suddenly stop breathing. I figure that as long as it doesnt get worse and the xanax takes it away it must be anxiety and it won't kill me, right? You are not alone. I know alot of anxiety suffers have this symptom. Me included.

Old 06-26-2006, 04:54 AM   #4
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benzos HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

I have suffered with this for years. Have any of you tried diaphragmatic breathing . Most people with anxiety breathe from their chest when you should be breathing from your diaphragm. Put hands on tummy across so fingertips are touching. Take a breath in to the count of 5 , your fingers should part as your tummy expands. Hold 2 seconds and let out to a count of 7, expelling absolutely all the air - fingers meet. I am sure you've probably heard of this but thought it worth a mention.


Last edited by benzos; 06-26-2006 at 04:55 AM.

Old 06-26-2006, 08:12 AM   #5
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tnmomofive HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

yes me too not right now but I have in the past it got so bad somtimes I couldnt even speak a whole sentence without running out of breath.Obviously it doesnt have to do with your heart though being anti anxiety meds make it go away.That means it anxiety related as the doctors have said.If it was your heart of ashtma etc. those med would not ever take it away.
I think the poster before me gave good advice with that breathing technique and maybe you can get into a therapist who knows alot of anxiety disorder and hyperventilation and can teach you techniques on how to get your breathing more normal again.

by the way my mother said the same thing lol and shed hear me trying to breathe and wig out saying "BETH! get to your doctor you dont sound good with that breathing!"

Last edited by tnmomofive; 06-26-2006 at 08:14 AM.

Old 06-26-2006, 08:17 AM   #6
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onecent42 HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

omg!! i thought i was the only person in the world with this!!! i have had it since i was a child, i absolutly hate it!! it seems to happen when im nervous, or i have to do something i dont want to do, i dont like to leave my house on account of this, it hits me when i drive my car, it gets me when i eat, its a total night mare!! & its even worse when people notice that your having a problem!! when i went to have one of my kids, yrs .ago, i had to have a c-section, when they put the mask over my face to put me to sleep, i went into that cant breathe mode, not catching my breath, when i awoke after surgery, i was still doing it!! but i finally caught it, i wish i knew how to stop it, the dr. put me on paxil 20mg, it seemed to work, but i didnt like being on paxil either, also, ive had every test known to im always "normal"but what ive found out with this short of breath thing,is, any thing can set it off, trying something new, like a new medication, a new food, or doing something youve never done before, my grown children wanted to take me out to dinner, i fought tooth & nail not to go, well, i ended up in a very crowded resturant, & yes you guessed it , it happened, so i calmly sat there, tring not to be noticable, what a night mare...but i got through it, i sure wish i didnt have to go through that, but, im 46 now, & been through it all my life, must be some type of panic disorder.............

Old 06-26-2006, 08:26 AM   #7
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tnmomofive HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

yeah panic/anxiety OR hyperventilation syndrome.....check that out on the web

Old 07-07-2006, 01:38 PM   #8
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threelapsdown HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

Like some of the previous posters, I thought I was the only one with this problem. I've been struggling with this for over 4 years now. I've had every test known to man done on me and seem to be in overall good health. I've been incorrectly diagnosed with asthma. At this time Xanax is the only thing that has been able to help me, but i can't keep taking it all the time, it makes me too tired. I was just put on Zoloft and I'm hoping that it will help. Although I'm not looking forward to weight gain and sexual disfunction issues that are known for this med. I just wanted to say how much relief I have knowing that Im not the only one with this. My family thinks Im crazy and just can't understand why I have trouble beathing all the time. If anyone with this problem would like share experiences feel free to email me: [email]REMOVED[/email]

Kind Regards,


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Old 07-07-2006, 06:19 PM   #9
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hyper79 HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

most of us with anxiety/depression have this by what i can gather its stress causing tense chest diaphram muscles giving that heavy chest or weighted feeling making it difficult to breath with ease?? at least thats what i read in the book "peace from nervous suffering" highly recommended book. its from the 70's but regardless best book out of many ive read for anxiety

Last edited by hyper79; 07-07-2006 at 06:22 PM.

Old 07-08-2006, 04:43 AM   #10
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sparklesmum HB User
Re: shortness of breath..I got rid of it (long post)

Hi, this same problem hit me in January of this year, it went on for a month before I started having panic attacks. I was short of breath every day, all day, would wake up every morning and think 'will I be able to breathe today?' and find the answer was no. It went on for almost 6 months but now I've fixed it. It's been a week and I still can't quite believe it.

First of all, please make sure it's not something else. I was tested for thyroid problems, diabetes, asthma and lung function, etc, until I was sure this was 'just' anxiety. If you know it's anxiety, then you CAN stop it.

I was seeing a therapist for panic attacks, and reading lots of books, and all the cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) I was learning about was saying that to get rid of panic you had to stop being afraid of it. Realize that having a panic attack is NOT the end of the world. (Yes, I am getting back to the breathing, hang on). If you have a panic attack, you won't die, you won't have a heart attack, you won't lose your mind . It's just a really crappy way to spend your day. (I understand it takes a while to accept this, but think about it, it's true).

Once you accept that panic and anxiety are not your enemy, you can get to the point where you can feel anxiety coming on, and tell it to go ahead, do it's best, you can take it. I got on a train the other day and felt the panic rising and I said to it 'go ahead, I want to be on the floor in a heap, I want to be gasping for air, do your best, try to make me lose my mind completely' and the panic faded away. Totally gone. I'd called it's bluff and it just went away. It can't blackmail me anymore.

Once you stop feeling threatened by panic, it loses it's power over you. So all this while, I still had shortness of breath all day every day. And about a week ago, it occured to me that it's the same problem. Deep down I was afraid I would live like that forever. And it occured to me 'so what?'. I was still living, still going to the gym, still looking after my kids. Still doing all the things I was before, I was just never feeling like I'd had a full breath of air. So I told myself that if that was the way I was going to live, so be it. I'm 32 and if that's all that happens, I'm lucky. Some people get far worse, I can cope with this. I told it to do it's worst, I can take it. And unbelievably, it went away. The next 2 or 3 days, I become very aware that I could breathe. If I got tired, or stressed out, it came back a bit, but I took it as a sign that I needed to relax and think about what was upsetting me. After about 4 days, it's gone.

If this helps anyone, I'll be so happy. I know what it's like to live with this problem and it's such a nightmare. At first very scary, and then still really annoying and scary at times. Even if this doesn't work for you at first, keep trying. You may need to say some things lots of times before you believe it, but ultimately it will go if you can stop trying to stop it.

Let me know how you get on!


Old 07-09-2006, 03:45 PM   #11
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Stoney109 HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

i have this going on really bad now. this is my 1st post here. always been a worrysome and stressed out person due a lot to acne for 4 years which is now under control. i'm 20 yrs old. had a huge tonsil infection during mono last dec, was really bad, didnt eat for 2 wks lost 40 lbs. had to stop working out and drinking and living the crazy life. then in feb started having panic attacks with every wierd physical feeling i would get. i was lightheaded ALL the time. i took control by just learning to relax, meditation, and just little things. no more lightheadedness. then this acid reflux this came on really bad, which caused me not to get a deep enough breath, which was acid reflux does sometimes. now thats mild now, no breathing probs with the I THINK, but im not sure. all tests are fine that i took for everything. since then, im constantly short of breath. its always on my mind and it wont go on its own. its either fast, or heavy like a car is on my chest. im pretty sure its anxiety related, but it's constant, not just in stressful situations. i think my body is just so used to using my breathing as an outlet for stress that no matter what i do/think about, its there. any help would be appreciated. the past replys here have made me feel better but anyone wtih any more or anyone else going through this plz respond. thx everyone

Old 07-12-2006, 07:55 AM   #12
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Stoney109 HB User
Re: shortness of breath...all the time....

thx sparklesmum, i tried that method and it's working pretty good! shortness of breath a little bit still, im hoping it will go away. anyone else with any methods or anything for this?

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