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Breathing problems and anxiety

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Old 12-17-2006, 12:04 AM   #1
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Bette76 HB User
Breathing problems and anxiety


I know that anxiety can cause major breathing issues, but I was wondering what everyone else experiences were. On and off, for several months now, I feel like I have trouble breathing for a few days. I go through periods where I keep yawning, trying to get a deep breath. I have to keep sighing, too. The more I think about it, the worse it gets. Just thinking about it makes me start yawning!!! I started yawning non-stop while shopping at Target yesterday and it really freaked me out!!

Now, I do get out of breath walking up stairs, too. I am not overweight, but I am out of shape. But of course I am thinking I have asthma or cancer or something. I swear, it really feels like I am suffocating sometimes, and I keep sighing and yawning to get air in! Does anyone else do this? I start doing this even when I don't feel very anxious. Then again, maybe I live in a constant state of anxiety and panic, though.

Any thoughts of this? Wondering if I should go to the dreaded doctor or not. I know that I get breathing issues when I am stressed, though. Right before a job interview, I have noticed that I hold my breath, so I am out of breath by the time I start interviewing. That is so not good! Help. Thanks, everyone! Hope you are having a good weekend.


Last edited by Bette76; 12-17-2006 at 12:08 AM.

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Old 12-17-2006, 12:20 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2006
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robinbird HB User
Smile Re: Breathing problems and anxiety


Yes anxiety really messed up my breathing, I was so tense that I couldn't take a deep breath and then I would freak out more and it just got worse. I used to have what I called a "band" around my chest and I was in misery for a couple of years. I also have asthma so I would use my inhaler way too much to try and get air in. But it was the anxiety that was causing it.

I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and put on medication and I also learned how to control my breathing by doing relaxation methods that I read in books and online. Today I feel 100% better though I still have the "band" maybe once or twice a week, but nothing like it was before.

You might want to think about seeing a doctor for some help. Good luck.


Old 12-17-2006, 02:10 AM   #3
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Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

Yes, the "band!" I always tell my husband about this. It does feel like a band around my chest at times. I had a really bad cold last week, and it made the breathing thing even worse. I thought for sure I was going to the ER!

When you say doctor, do you mean regular doc or someone for my anxiety? The hypochondriac in my needs to know, LOL. I was going to a counselor for a while in the summer, I guess I should start it back up. It is NO fun to live like this. Thanks for the help.

Old 12-17-2006, 05:57 AM   #4
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Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

Rebreathing in a paper sack will help calm the nervous system and breathing will be back to normal.

I am a "hidden hyperventilater" and it raised my bloodpressure plus I reached the point I could only take 3 steps and stall out. A specialist recognized the problem and prescribed rebreathing in paper sack 5 minutes every hour. I did that for 3 months and then reduced number times per day.

Anxiety is not always the cause of breathing problems, the breathing problem can cause anxiety. Sometimes our breathing gets off track for unknown reasons and causes us to blow off too much carbon dioxide. We need a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in order for the red carpusles to be able to release oxygen to the vital organs. When the vital organs are deprived of oxygen our body will react causing anxiety, not the other way around.

Taking a slow deep breath and very slow exhale will help offset this problem.

Old 12-17-2006, 05:57 AM   #5
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music12 HB User
Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

You might have a condition called "Air Hunger" which is exactly what you describe. When you feel as though you cannot get a full breath, that you do not have enough oxygen, this can then lead to anxiety and panic. Which do you think comes first - anxiety or the inability to breathe fully?

If this is air hunger you might research salt pipes. These are small ceramic pipes filled with crystal salt. I have used one for about a year and find that it definitely helps with breathing, which in turn calms anxiety created from the feeling that you can't breathe.


Old 12-17-2006, 09:53 AM   #6
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tracey30 HB User
Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

Yes i was just about to say it sounds like air hunger. I get it a lot and it really tires me out. It always feels like you need to take a deep breath and yawn.

Old 12-17-2006, 03:32 PM   #7
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dazedandconfused10 HB User
Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

I have asthma and he said if I thought it was anxiety, he suggested I use my peak flow meter, if its really just tension I should be in my normal zone if something is truly physically wrong, I would be lower. That made me feel good that there was a way to measure it.

Old 12-17-2006, 03:50 PM   #8
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staycalm HB User
Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

Hi Betty, I have had the exact same problems for the past 8 years. My sister also had this problem since she was 8. After 16 years it mysteriously disappeared just as mysteriously as it appeared. There is a sensatin of tightness in the chest and tummy. I believed I had a paralyzed diaphgragm. After being misdiagnosed with asthma and als trying Paxil, none of which helped, I just taught myself how to cope with it. I went through all the tests. Saw numerous specialists. They treat it as a simple problem that would go away if we just practiced deep ( tummy) breathing. That just makes it worse. I practiced deep breathing iand focused only on inflating my lungs and not the tummy. It helped me cope somewhat. I also constantly try to yawn to get some air deep into my lungs. It is really horrible. Seems like air just wont go in all the way. At times I also feel like I have been buried alive or have run out of oxygen underwater and can't get out. How long have yo had this problem? Feel free to email me at [email]{REMOVED}[/email]

Last edited by ms_mod; 12-17-2006 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Please read and follow the posting rules. Do not post off board contact information of any kind for any reason. Ms_Mod

Old 12-18-2006, 06:10 AM   #9
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Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

Bette - I have the EXACT same thing as you. It started back in April when I had a really bad bout of acid reflux while I was sleeping. I don't know if it is from the reflux or the anxiety. Do you have reflux? I'm a little overweight and out of shape. I'm 33. I have not seen a doctor for the breathing problems because I hate going to the doctor but I am on medication for the reflux. I've been over on the Acid Reflux board and some other people there have experienced the same breathing problems but most of them have anxiety, too! I even get the band feeling around my chest/stomach (right where my bra goes around my chest) which others with reflux get, too. Mine gets worse after I eat and while I'm sitting. It's strange.


Old 12-18-2006, 07:23 PM   #10
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Bette76 HB User
Re: Breathing problems and anxiety

Thanks, everyone! I also have really bad acid reflux, so maybe it has something to do with that. I really appreciate your comments and advice, it has all helped so much!! I feel better now. At least until my next bout!!

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