This question comes from quite a long background so i will try to be as brief as possible.
Symptoms: cannot take a deep breath, cannot yawn properly, cannot "fill" lungs with air, occasional mild heart palpitations. ... lasts for days - sometimes WEEKS on end, repeats.
Doc says: Panic attacks. (but I am skeptical)
(ruled out: lung problems, asthma, heart problems and so on)
Starts light, as though my chest is slightly constricted and over a week or so it gets really bad. now i KNOW i am getting enough air but i get compulsions to take a REALLY deep breath and it feels like my lungs don't fill up properly - this give me the compulsion to yawn a lot but still i can't fill up - i am not hyperventilating when this happens - these compulsions can be one per minute or once every 5 - 10 mins.
This seems to kick in regardless of circumstances or stress levels and lasts for days... This happens anywhere from outdoors trekking, to sitting in uni, to sitting in my house with a book or TV. Once it begins it can go on for days - sometimes weeks.It started again 4 days ago and i have had it every day since then.
It's pretty random how it goes from day to day - for example: today it started about 4 hours ago and is not so bad, yesterday was all day and i felt like i was gasping for breath at times...
Ok problem started 8 or 9 years ago - happens in bouts of a few days sometimes weeks ... 2 to 3 times a year, 45 in the worst year. through being a pet owner and not, through pollen high summers and winters. I have been going to the docs about it for years. I had childhood asthma so this was the first suspicion but now my peak flows are fairly average and don't vary a lot (been checking them myself at home and at the docs periodically) also i don't wheeze at all and it never becomes unmanageable just uncomfortable.
Last time this happened (Jan this year) the doc checked everything (a new doc so did full checkup for me) heart, lungs all fine - bp "a little high" but not too bad, physically it seems there's nothing wrong but still this persists... I think my new doctor now thinks i am a bit of a hypochondriac lol.
Other than this perfectly healthy with no history of serious illness.
Any ideas? can it really be just panic attacks? seems like an extreme type of panic attack that can start whilst i'm sat reading a book and go on for weeks... :/
There is something called sensorimotor OCD where a person gets hung up on automatic body processes such as breathing, blinking, swollowing. They become compulsions like you described. Have you been to see a psychologist to get a formal diagnosis? The doctor is saying you have anxiety but it may be that you have OCD that needs to be treated. Untreated OCD leads to anxiety so you need to make sure you are getting help for the initial problem. Look for a psychologist that is good at teaching cognitive behavioral therapy. Take care.
I can't believe how many people suffer from this! I don't feel so all alone. I'm 52 yrs old, and have been having that "can't fill my lungs" feeling since I was a teen. It's a frustrating and energy depleting experience that can last for hours or days. Hindsight is 20/20. I'll skip over all the years of misdiagnosis and the true lack of effort from any doctor to figure out what my issue is. At 48, at my wits end about my breathing I dove into the Internet, and made appnts with an array of specialists. I think we tend to look for one answer, but in reality you may have several issues causing breathing problems. My "can't fill up my lungs" feeling is definitely stress/OCD related. 1 mil of Alprazolam relieves my symptoms within 10 minutes.... Even if I'm at the point of hyperventilation and dizziness. I have a second problem of strider and labored breathing - tracheal stenosis from a botched intubation when I was younger. I've had three minimally invasive operations within two years, which gave me tempory relief. I will soon be having a fourth more aggressive surgery on my trachea - fingers crossed that it will be a permanent fix. P.S. when my trach is temp fixed, my stress related symptoms go away as well.
Being skeptical and questioning anxiety is par for the course when dealing with it in my experience. Many of us here had our initial experiences with anxiety and panic due to concerns about our health. For me, I initially was worried about heart health and became super focused on that area of my body. I felt every little pain, twinge, skipped beat, etc. I had trouble breathing and felt like I couldn't breathe. I ended up in the ER mutliple times and despite tests and doctors telling me it was anxiety related, I fought it for about six months until I even enterained the idea that it was anxiety (it was).
In my opinion, we become so hyper-aware of what is bothering us. Little chest pains before this experience, I wouldn't pay any attention to, but when I started experiencing anxiety I felt EVERYTHING. Furthermore, in my experiene, we can also tend to misinterpret that 'symptom' and catastrophicsize the meaining of it no matter how small the possility of it being true. For example, if my left arm was sore, I immediatley linked it to an impending heart attack...nevermind that it could have been because I pulled a muscle or slept on it funny the night before.
Anxiety is very powerful and denial and skepticism about it being the cause of your health worries is common. Acceptience is initially a challenge, but once you even consider you can start to confront it. Have you ever recieved any type of counseling for this?
I'm 20 and I had a panic Attack over a week ago and haven't been able to full my lungs since witch medication works for you guys I have a new born baby and am really at my wits end with this! I'm so tired
Thank god i found this!! have been googling not being able to take a deep breath and fill my lungs for sucha long time, i only just turned 15 and ive probably had this a good year maybe two, i told my mum and my doc and all she did was listen to my breathing and said all was fine and dismissed it as i was at an appointment for blood test results for thyroid so wasnt really focusing on the breathing, may go again and ask, what did your doctor say/do? mine is sometimes really bad and i cnt breathe deeply other times its ok, but it is always there and i experience it daily cant remember when i last took a natural deep breath without a yawn or somethingto help involved. i thought it was stress or anxiety?
Back in 1989 and for 10 years, I made regular trips to my Dr. with a feeling of pressure in my chest including not being able to take a deep satisying breath? Dr kept telling me it was stress and I kept telling him that I didn't feel stressed I went thru tests to make sure we weren't missing something. I kept feeling like I had some catastrophic illness that just hadn't been diagnosed. Finally i guess my Dr used the right words describing the way we handle stress. We can cruise along and handle stress after stress after stress and then something seemingly minor occurs and its like the straw that broke the camels back and sends us over the edge. Now THAT made sense! He suggested a low dose of diazapam to see if it would help.......then he said the word valium and that scared me. I had the prescription filled but never took it. Three days later I felt so awful I broke a pill in half and took it and within an hour, I felt fine! I have never taken a whole pill. For years I never left the house without making absolutely sure I had that pill with me. Talk about OCD! I still keep a prescription in my cabinet but now, I usually end up tossing the expired prescription and still get anfresh supply just in case.
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.