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Old 11-11-2007, 10:28 AM   #1
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yantim dad HB User
constantly need a deep breath... and mostly can't

Iím 37 years old male, and for about nine month now I suffer from I can best describe a constant and very frequent need to take a deep breath, which in most cases is stuck in the middle of attempt. This is a very common description in this board and other, and probably result from many different origins, psychological as well as physiological. Therefore, Iím going to pinpoint some of the key point in my symptomatology, in order to keep this thread more specific for people whose symptoms are more specifically similar to mine.

- As I said, the most disturbing part of my problem is its consistency: from the morning I wake up till I go to sleep. Currently it is every 2-3 minutes at rest (sitting) most of the time, and rarely more than 5 minutes between attempts. Apart from the deep breathing, I breath pretty slow and shallow.

- When I move around, it gets more frequent (like every minute), but it is not like I am out of breath, just abruptly feel a need to take that deep breath. Moreover, I can exercise (run 2.5-3 miles). Usually when I run, the urge to breath is not as strong (more accurately, it is not strong enough to distract me from the steady breathing pattern), although sometimes I do have it also when running.

- When I lie down, the urge goes away quite immediately. Since Iím very tired of the constant effort I fall asleep pretty fast.

- Taking the deep breath is involuntary Ė happens also when I donít think of it (which becomes more and more rare if at all). Manipulating my breathing Ė trying to breath deeper/shallower/faster/slower/diaphragmatically etc. causes no consistent effect.

- I can hold the deep breath back (even did it for two days once) but this is very demending, especially when walking and even more after climbing stairs, and require me to concentrate on it. The moment I let it go, everything gets back to usual.

- It started (in January) as episodes, which became more and more frequent. Around April I started to have many medical examinations: X-ray, EKG, blood count etc., PFTs, CT, cardiac echo, laryngoscopy. The only thing that may relate to it was my restrictive values, which are low but within norms (80-85% of expected). Iím about to repeat these tests shortly. Aside from that they found fatty liver and some sort of cystic changes in my sternum (which I feel sometime as pain, but this is negligible compared to the deep breathing problem). Most doctors at this stage suggest no organic or physical cause and each in his words send me to investigate psychological aspect.

- Tried some alternative treatments: Yoga breathing exercises, a homeopathic remedy, biofeedback Ė no real influence.

- I never had any anxiety issues before it all started. However, as it got worse I started to have all kind of strange feelings, mainly in my throat and belly, which changed from day to day. Also have some chest pains but this got less frequent as the breathing problem exacerbated, and indeed even in the beginning was associated with time when breathing was better. More recently, I started to have long periods of feeling very shaky, like my chest or back muscles tremble. In the last few weeks I usually wake up early in the morning, not being able to fall back asleep. As long as I lie still I have the deep breathing only very shallowly and infrequently, but along with that I feel that shakiness develops. When I get up, I feel shaky and strangely the deep breathing is a little better at this stage. In an hour or two the shakiness subsides but the breathing becomes unbearable. Needless to say, I am almost completely non-functional for the last half a year. Nevertheless, I donít have ďclassicĒ anxiety or hyperventilation symptoms as fast breathing, sweating or fast heartbeat.

- Lately, as symptoms worsened, I tried to take xanax for about 10 days (1-2 mg/ day). This calmed down my physical and emotional symptoms, and made breathing more ďopenĒ (that is, I was able to take most of the deep breathes, and they were less violent), but their frequency remained the same. I stopped the xanax cause it made me sleepy and I was also afraid of getting addicted. When I stopped, symptoms became bad again in a day or two.

- Iím trying some psychological therapy at the moment, as my medical horizons are getting more and more limited. Iím scheduled with a psychiatrist, and I believe he is going to suggest medication. In my situation, Iím willing to take it, but in all the forum posts I have gone through, which is basically everything there is on the net, I could not find even a single evidence that SSRI/SNRI helped any case of constant deep breathing, which makes me quite dubious regarding that option.

I will be happy to hear from people experiencing similar symptoms, mainly regarding the consistency, the exacerbation over time and the dependency on physical activity. Also, I am curious to hear from people who have/had it and tried different medications. Most people who describe these symptoms tend to disappear from the forums at some stage, either because they give up finding a solution (I donít know how I can live with that forever Ė it is totally disabling) or because they forget of their fellow sufferers once they find a cure. As I am sure there are people around who suffer from this as I do, I hope this post will open a fruitful discussion that will aid us in finding a solution.

 
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:20 PM   #2
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Tim 007 HB User
Re: constantly need a deep breath... and mostly can't

Needing to take a deep breath and yawning is a big indicator of anxiety problems. Since you seem to have been tested well, I doubt that heart problems are the cause of this. I have been an anxious person my entire life, and find that when in an anxious mood, I tend to yawn about every 1.5-2 minutes...which isn't normal. I had my first "panice attack" of my life a couple months ago, I'm 21 years old, and have been on Zoloft since that attack. I have also been on Xanax, and Ativan. Xanax didn't seem to work to well with me, it made me very tired...and a little clumsy. Ativan worked extremely well and helped tremendously during my first few weeks transitioning onto the Zoloft. I wouldn't recommend driving after taking it until you become adjusted to it. It definatley calmed me down, allowed me to relax enough to where I wouldn't think about my breathing/yawning issue. After using it for 3 weeks it actually began making things worse, so I stopped taking it, suffered very few side affects, and am pretty content with just taking Zoloft. I find I'm yawing much less, am in a better mood, don't bite my nails or pull at my hair as I used to...I think for me the problem with my breathing was that I continually THOUGHT about it. When you continually THINK about it, breathing no longer becomes automatic, it becomes "forced". Forced breathing/shallow breathing can cause lightheadedness, thoughts of passing out, and panic attacks. I hope that you find your own way to cope with the problem, Zoloft has worked with me very well, but the initial side affects was hell...
Goodluck, and you're not alone!

Last edited by Tim 007; 11-11-2007 at 11:22 PM.

 
Old 11-13-2007, 04:10 AM   #3
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Patthedog HB User
Re: constantly need a deep breath... and mostly can't

That is the most annoying sensation and really scary too. I noticed when I was engaged in something, a conversation or whatever, I didn't do the deep breath thing.

 
Old 11-14-2007, 04:27 PM   #4
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leeroy50 HB User
Re: constantly need a deep breath... and mostly can't

I had that as well. Lexapro really helps me, but so does Prilosec OTC.....

Wish you better!

 
Old 11-17-2007, 08:29 AM   #5
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painter68 HB User
Re: constantly need a deep breath... and mostly can't

My husband went through exactly what you describe for several months in 2001 . It was really awful, and he had all kinds of tests done. There was nothing medically wrong with him. At some point during that period, he started having panic attacks, but he didn't know what those were. He finally figured it out, with the help of talking about it with his doctor. He's always been pretty intense-- manic and then depressive, and so a diagnosis of bipolar disorder came as no surprise to me. He now takes a lot of medications for panic, anxiety, mania, and depression. Most of the time, these keep the breathing problem at bay. But it still happens a lot. He hasn't done much counseling on the psychological side of things, unfortunately.

Along with the breathing thing, in his life, was a move and a job change (back in '01), and a lot of uncertainty. His role in life has been shaken ever since that move, and he's never really regained a steady job. He's gone back to school and has not finished (but will in Spring) and our financial problems have mounted, and his breathing thing is always resurfacing.

I don't know if that helps or not.

 
Old 11-17-2007, 12:34 PM   #6
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kg21678 HB User
Re: constantly need a deep breath... and mostly can't

Hi, ive been suffering from anxiety for many years now, and suffer from the same thing, i constantly need a deep breath, and this happens sometimes even when i am alone with no anxiety, I have had countless exams, and they keep telling me I don't have asthma, nor do I have anything else wrong with me. Looking back at old video's I have had this issue even as a child at 7 years old, sometimes it is worse than others, but it happens even while talking to people and it makes you more anxious that <you> do that in front of someone and they ask <you> why you are yawning or why you are breathing so heavy. I also have post nasal drip, very badly but other than that im in pretty good shape atheletically so it doesnt make sense to me. Anyhow I definitely share your torment, and if I come across any info on this or if you do or anyone for that matter I would love to see it posted.

Last edited by ms_mod; 11-17-2007 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Replaced text message, chat room words with the proper words. Please follow the posting rules. Ms_Mod

 
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