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Trouble Taking a Deep Breath, Shortness of Breath, Constant
For 40 years, I have had trouble take a 'full' deep breath and I always feel like I am not getting enough air. Since about 1989, I found a panic clinic that finally got me on antidepressants as well as tranquilizers and I have been in control for many years. I was on Prozac SID and Klonopin 1 mg BID. Even if I felt a panic attack coming on, I was able to fight it and it would go right away. A few months ago, the panic attacks would wake me up out of my sleep so the doctor upped my Klonopin to 1 mg in the AM and 2 mg before bed. That worked for a while and a couple of weeks ago, it all happened again, I panicked trying to 'catch my breath.' The full deep breath would not come! I called 911 and they calmed me down and I didn't go to the hospital. I call my psych that Monday, and he switched me to Zolfoft 15 mgs for 8 days and now I am up to 50mgs SID for about 5 days. I am taking Klonopin 1 mg now about 4 times a day. He started me on Valium 5 mg, but it doesn't seem to work for me. Thursday, he also added Imipramine at a low dose 10 mgs for 2 days, 20 mgs for 2 days and then up to 30 mgs. He is working me slowly up to 150mg because of the side effects of the drug. I went to the ER last Tuesday during a major panic attack. They did an EKG which came back fine and 2 check XRays which were fine. Also, I was hooked up to the monitor where they monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels and that all seemed fine. Friday, I called and made an appointment the the Breath and Lung Institute at Hackensack Hospital. I still need reassurance that it is panic. Did Prozac 'poop out' on me all of a sudden? When will the new meds kick in? The panic seems constant now. It doesn't come and go except when I am at work. I pray that I'll fall asleep so my breathing goes back to normal.
Thanks for reading this and thanks in advance for responding.
That seems like a truckload of medication to be taking (and seems quite complicated).
The breathing. After all that testing I would feel more confident that it were an anxiety issue. With anxiety we tend to breathe quite shallowly. Has someone shown you how to breathe correctly? (Someone showed me how after I had an asthma attack). There are also deep breathing exercises you can do to help you with your anxiety.
The medication. It doesn't sound like it is managing your symptoms and I think adding more, especially without removing any, is a big mistake.
The doctor here will be better able to advise more about the medication.
Have you considered psychotherapy to address issues creating your anxiety and panic? This could be extremely useful. Especially if you're building an ever-increasing tolerance to your current medication(s).
I am no longer on Prozac so he switched me to Zoloft. I was already on the Buspar and he kept me on that. The only main change, addition was the Imipramine. I've only been on the new meds less than 2 weeks. Hopefully, they will start working soon or the doc will have to start making major adjustments. I tend to obsess on things so all I think about is my breathing. When I am at work and it's busy, my mind is occupied, but when I am home all day, all I think about is my next deep breath. It was gone for so long that I thought it would never come back. WELL, WASN'T I WRONG.
What's that? 50 mg zoloft, 4 mg klonopin, 5 mg valium, 150 mg imipramine and ?60 mg buspar.
I hope you start experiencing symptomatic relief soon too. I would still be concerned by the amount you're taking.
I can understand how that works and how you may feel. I have a tendency to repeat certain behaviors and if I start obsessing about other aspects I tend to panic. I guess breathing exercises didn't help much either or perhaps I wasn't able to utilize them fully?
So breathing defends against obsessions which have now become a problem? As you're obsessing about your breathing.
If your doctors have ruled out any medical condition then perhaps you should trust yourself to breathe.
What does a deep breath represent? A sense of control?? Was it your anxiety that caused your fear over your ability to take a deep breath to start with?
I can't concentrate now. My father just drained our water cylinder and radiators because they weren't heating up and he didn't put a valve back and flooded a few rooms.
Mum is also angry because a division of Eli Lilly tested one of their products on dogs for two years. It was an animal product, an antibiotic, we are currently using on several of our animals.
I don't take the Valium. Aren't strong enough. Zoloft 50 mgs, Buspar 60 mgs, Imipramine up to 30 mgs now and not sure how long my psych will keep me on that strengh, but will build me up to 150. Klonopin, I am trying to cut down to 3 times a day. I went to the Breath of Lung Institute and saw a lung specialist. He didn't find anything wrong when he listened to my lungs. Since he asked me how I was breathing during exercise and I haven't exercised in a few weeks (walking only), he is having me come back for a stress test and one more test. But his diagnosis today was panic. And I was having trouble breathing when he told me to breath deeply in and out. He did do a CBC and a thyroid test. Guess enough doctors have told me at this point that it is panic disorder. NOW I JUST HAVE TO FOCUS ON BELIEVING THEM AND GET A LIFE. Thank you for your kind responses. They are much appreciated.
It helps a lot if you trust your health professional. If you don't have any confidence in them or their ability then it makes trusting their diagnosis difficult.
When you're having a panic attack and feel like you're dying it can be difficult to acknowledge that nothing physically is wrong and it's just a result of anxiety. (Which can create more anxiety because you can feel they're dismissing you and your symptoms).
Your tests remind me of some of the procedures I went through after my asthma attack. Lung function test which was incredibly painful and stress test which was a little ridiculous as I was training 6+ hours everyday (until a few weeks before I was admitted to the high dependency unit. Which also reminds me that I was cautioned that an orderly would be with a psych patient -who was then admitted to icu). It was hard to say what, if anything, they gained from that particular test. It may have even given them a false negative (I'm not sure, I don't know how medicine works).
I can get flustered and have trouble breathing too when doctors ask to listen to my chest, especially if they aren't very clear with their instructions. Just having them in my personal space can leave me feeling flustered and short of breath too. I'm one of those anxious patients who pulls their chair as far away as possible.
It's probably not so easy to believe them but distracting yourself and working on your anxiety/ panic could be extremely helpful.
Are you in therapy? I was just wondering if they actually did therapy at the panic clinic. I guess they must. 20 years is a long time. Perhaps changing your approach could be helpful. I have found psychoanalysis extremely helpful.
You are very sweet. I have been feeling a little better the past couple of day. Today, I ALMOST had a panic attack for a silly reason. I am trying to convince myself that all the doctors can't be wrong. And I am trying to 'belly breathe' when I remember. I am also trying not to constantly take a deep breath. Maybe the meds are working or going to a specialist made me feel a little better. Hackensack Medical Center in NJ is one of the top hospitals. What are your panic symptoms, if you don't mine me asking.
Perhaps not so sweet. I have issues like most people here. When I'm tired, stressed and unwell I can get frustrated, angry and grumpy. It's not pretty. I guess for the most part I am just really self-absorbed in my own issues and reading other people's posts can distract and inspire me (and take me out of my own head for a few minutes).
Good luck! Probably trying to convince yourself that even one is right is just as hard.
The 'belly breath' is like a deep breath, isn't it? How do you distinguish the two?
Perhaps both the meds and the specialist visit (and the reassurance from the doctor here too).
Nothing's ever silly. Or perhaps only to those who don't understand. And I was going to add, lacked imagination (in order to be able to empathize).
We also tend to label things because we fear others judging us. Perhaps by judging ourselves we reduce the rejection and it gives us a sense of control.
I don't mind you asking. I mainly have severe anxiety. My anxiety has almost become the norm it is hard to distinguish between what is normal and what are symptoms.
Headaches, nausea, chest pain, blurred vision, agitation, reflux/ heart burn (acid in mouth), vomiting, sore neck, fatigue, migraines, difficulty concentrating, sweating, etc.
With panic it is more a sense of feeling flustered, short of breath, feeling flushed, having an increased heart rate, heart palpitations, feeling faint, tingling from hyperventilating. Just writing them down my poor heart is pounding away.
With severe panic it just feels like you're going to die. I get severe chest pain and headaches with this. I have found deep breathing helps to ground me.
I mainly just have anxiety but tend to panic when I repeat things and become late for appointments, etc. There's also anxiety around social situations and planes. If a plane is flying low and it is loud and I cant see it then I start running. If people come up our drive and I am very stressed I may hide and not answer the door. Then I feel stressed by my behavior, etc and that's almost as bad.
I can sometimes panic when I'm swimming too if I can't control my breathing.
I can get extremely stressed and agitated when people are in my personal space, when people burp or fart, when people make loud noises when they eat, when people touch me, etc.
I can panic when I'm unwell and need help. Because of negative experiences in the past it is not easy to ask for help and I can feel trapped and again I run or have strong urges to run.
With panic also comes a sense of hyper-vigilance.
I probably missed many, but there are some. I don't have all of them all of the time. My T keeps picking up on my shallow breathing and after each session I always look to see that I haven't left wet patches on the chair (from sweating so much).
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