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Breathing anxiety

If someone can help me out with my problem I'd REALLY appreciate it. Here it goes: For the past week I have had some kind of difficulty breathing. Instead of me breathing subconsciously, I am doing it manually all the time, and it feels really bad. I know its mental because when I occupy my mind doing something it goes away and I breath, without me knowing it. But when I am not doing anything it seems that I am just concentrated on my breathing, and cant think of anything else. I pass the whole day like this, and unless I am doing something, I am going thru a living HELL. I really hope that someone can help me out,because I just dont know what else to do
33 Responses
242532 tn?1269550379
It is extremely likely that you are having  exacerbated anxiety attacks because of the september 11 tragedy, and the loss of safety that comes from that. Talk more about that with your friends and family...let your emotions and fears come out in the open...and discuss them. That will help you the most.
Avatar universal
Thats impossible because it happened the night before that even happened. I just woke up one night like that. And since then its like im focused on my breathing and i cant breath naturally. Its like i force my breaths out and am obsesses with breathing right but i cant
Avatar universal
I have been reading through this website and came upon the breathing question. My anxiety started out with this basic problem and then overtime...months/year it turned into heart racing, trembling, clausterphobic feelings, dying feelings and basically feeling like I was going crazy (my mind going a million miles an hour. I was put on prozac by a GP which landed me in the emergency room w/ severe anxiety (only after two doses. I have been seeing a pyschiatrist and pyschologist (husband and wife team) who are very good but very much into meds and then therapy after the mind has calmed. Well, due to bad effect of prozac I have been scared of other anti-deppresants but do take valium. It helps calm me but it doesn't necessarily take away the fears associated w/ anxiety. I also think the prozac created some suicidal thoughts and obsessive problems which are very low level. My doc's feel like I probably have always had generalized anxiety but a series of female medical problems reared the ugly monsters head.
I am now thinking about going on Sinequan because it seems to be one of the TCA's that doesn't list anxiety as a side effect. Is this a good choice?
But i would suggest to the person w/ the breathing problem to seek help before it turns into more...I know what your going through and it seems you do get fixated on breathing. I hope you work it out!
Avatar universal
Well, 2 weeks ago I went to a hypnotist and he programmed this into my mind: 1.each time i breath i breath better 2. im going to feel better etc.. I really dont know anymore if my breathing anxiety is an actualy problem, or its mental. But i will say that it is a living hell. Its like I cant breath naturally, Im focused on my breathing, its like i do it manually, and now my stomach bounces like if its gasping for air. If somebody can please give me some advice on what I should do I'd really appreciate it.
Avatar universal
Hi again!
I know in my previous message I didn't really help you with your breathing question. I think it is pretty mental. I go through periods where my anxiety is low but still have the breathing problem. It does make you feel like you are manually breathing when it should be a non thought process and it does hurt your insides. I have seen my GP about this. She listens to my lungs and hears no problem. Go to your general doctor and have it checked out or see a behavioral therapist.Maybe try an antidepressant. It may seem like you aren't "stressed" but some signal in your body is saying you are. When it starts you need to learn how to tell your self to stop and that you can breathe normally w/o any mental help. Try to get up and get busy or start a conversation w/ someone...that tends to help me. Try to stop this before it comes full blown into anxiety attacks where you feel like your suffocating and can't breathe.
Has the hypnosis helped at all?
I have thought about doing that myself.
Avatar universal
Well compared to how I was feeling before I feel a little better.But the breathing anxiety is still there. My mom says just dont pay attention to it, think about something else. Yeah, its pretty easy for her to say that because she is not going thru what I am. Sometimes I am looking outside and I just say 'I really love life', but this breathing problem really pisses me off. I was wondering, do you have the same problem? If so, how did it start. For me it just started one night. I just woke up and had a problem breathing. If i were to choose between all the money in the world, and having my normal life back, i'd pick having my life back, because all the money in the world cant buy love, and happiness, it just buys things. Sometimes I pray to God that I will get amnesia and forget about my breathing, and forget all the traumatic experiences I have experienced in my lifetime. Also I was wondering, how does it feel for you? Is it constant, or is it periodically. I try to be in a good mood so that I wont worry my mother, but its really hard. I feel like someone has taken my life away. The hypnosis has helped a little, but its not what I expected. Maybe I should go hypnotize myself again?
Avatar universal
Just a little curious...how old are you and when you say you want to forget the traumatic experiences in your life do you just mean the breathing thing or are there underlying things?
Sometimes I have the breathing thing on a daily basis...sometimes it goes away for a couple of weeks/months. Just reading your note can make me become short of breath. I know what you mean about loving life...I do too although I have anxiety mixed w/ a little depression and somedays it's bad and somedays not. My pshchologist believes that MOST people go through a period in their life where they have anxiety/depression for anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. Some go untreated mostly the ones w/ basic depression but anxiety actually is a good thing because it keeps your body/mind in check and makes you find what the underlying cause is.
Mine started similliar to yours. One night I just felt like I was manually breathing and it stayed for about a month (I thought I had allergies) then went away and then over time came back and turned into panic attacks.
I do take an anti-anxiety med that calms my mind down on a daily basis. That's been hard because I have resisted medication but like my psych says...if you had diabetes would you not use insulin? It's a medical condition...sometimes your chemicals get out of wack and takes a med and time to get it back in the groove.
I hope that your traumatic experiences have not been terrible...I have been through my own in a short while BUT I am realizing that it made me who I am. Your not going to die from anxiety which is what it sounds like your having. It's almost like you have to dare the devil and not be afraid of it. Ask it to give you it's best shot and if it does and when you live through it then pat yourself on the back.
I would definitely go see your general practitioner for a checkup...maybe they can recommend a psychologist!!!! You need to do this!!! People who have never experienced this type of thing don't know how to react.
Avatar universal
Well I went to a general doctor, and he told me that nothing was wrong with me. He told me that my heart, and health are perfectly fine. He sent me some anxiety pill called clorazepam(2 a day) which has calmed me down, but I still manually breath. I wish that it was something that would be ocassional (every once in a while) but its not. Its something that haunts me day and night. Sometimes I just want to take sleeping pills and just fall asleep. I am currently seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist, and hope that they will help me get my life back. All the money in the world cannot buy what I want. And thats to stop thinking about my breathing, and just lay in bed and relax watching a movie. I really pray to God that something will happen to me, and that this will just be erased from my mind because it sometimes makes me scream and it gets me angry. I am 21, and I am not only suffering from this, but I am also suffering from shizoaffective disorder. But lately I have been more concerned with my breathing, than with the voices. If I had a choice between the two I'd pick the voices. My mom tells me to just not think about it. Yeah its really easy for her to say that because she is not experiencing what I am. She thinks that whats wrong with me is something minor, but in my world its a living hell. I was wondering, how do you cope with this? and is it all day long for you? or does it happen periodically?
Avatar universal
Do you take medicine for your other disorder?
Could it be any complications from that?
When my breathing bothers me it happens differently. Sometimes it will just bother me for a day and go away. Sometimes for a month or more.
At first it was a lot like you but then overtime it will just come an go. It makes me angry too but the mind is so fascinating and I think it does these things to let us know something is wrong w/ our bodies.
I think instead of letting it bully you...try telling it that it can't take control of your life and live that way WHICH I know is very hard!!!!!!! Over time you can convince yourself but right now your caught up in the anger.
I prefer valium versus the type of drug your taking. It has a more mellow affect and can be used over a longer period of time. Ask your doctor?? Just beware. These drugs are addicting so don't stop all at once take it continually as the doctor has prescribed. I resisted at first and then did as the doctor said and now I'm doing much better compared to a year ago. Just is a chemical imbalance.
I remember the whole trying to watch tv thing. That drove me crazy (not that I'm not) :)!!!! Who's really sane or normal??
HANG IN THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Avatar universal
So what you're trying to tell me is that in time my condition will just go away slowly? I really hope so. This new pill that the doctor sent me (clorazepam 0.5mg) has really calmed me down a little but I just wish that the whole thing would just go away.How long did it take for you for this thing to go away slowly? What medication helped you out the most? I have told the doctor about my condition and he keeps on sending me the same lorazepam which hasnt done NOTHING. I go to a general medicine doctor for a checkup and he sends me clorazepam which has really helped me out. Sometimes I think that my psychiatrist just doesnt care. I tell him that lorazepam is like taking nothing, he just keeps sending me more. I tell him that the geodon(which is for my schizophrenic disorder) accelerates my heart very rapidly, and he just sends me more milligrams. For this reason I have stopped taking geodon for a while. And yes I hear voices, but sometimes I dont know which is worse, the breathing, or the voices. The voices taunt me, but the breathing REALLY bothers me. Its like I am respirating manually, instead of it being a nonthought process. So you think Valium would help me out for this condition?
Avatar universal
I'm not sure exactly what will help specifically for you but I have taken both of the others and have found I feel more like myself on valium. The others are considered fast acting. valium is more slower but tends to stay in the system longer. My breathing subsided over a couple of months although I still get attacks from time to time.
I think you should find another pschyiatrist...what about throwing a psychologist in the mix. She/he can't prescribe med but seem to do more behavioral therapy.
How do your voices taunt you...do you think they make the breathing worse.
My heart goes out to you. Does your family have a medical history of mental illness?  i do unfortunately. I took prozac for a week and went total nuts and still feel like sometimes I am fighting the effects it had in my brain. There are some great drugs out there though. They are making new strides. Have you taken anything else?
The breathing thing becomes almost a obbsessive compulsive disorder. I think as long as you can cling to that "loving life as much as possible" feeling as much as possible...you can become stronger.
Avatar universal
Well yes I am also seeing a psychotherapist, and all she does is ask me questions, and I answer. I have started to see her about 2 weeks ago, and when I go there it feels go to just let go some of my emotions. She has told me to try and occupy my time doing something. She told me she was going to teach me some distraction techniques, so that when the breathing problem starts I can think about something else. (If only it were that easy) I asked her yesterday about valium, and she told me that valium is very strong and psychiatrists dont often prescribe it because its very addictive and makes you dopey. Hey I was just wondering how do you take valium? 2 times a day? before going to sleep? The psychotherapist that I am seeing seems real nice. But my psychiatrist in my opinion is just a plain a**hole. I told him that the lorazepam wasnt doing nothing for me. He just prescribed it again. He tells me to take it before going to sleep, and that the effects last 4 hrs!? What am I supposed to do with that?? I told him that the geodone(which is for the voices) really accelerates my heart, and he just prescribed more milligrams. Its like he wasnt even listening to me. He was talking to me about changing psychiatrists, and I think thats what I am going to do, because he always has an attitude, and I just dont like him for some reason. The general medicine doctor that did a checkup on me and sent me clorazepam has done more for me, than the psychiatrist has done for me in the last couple of months. The general medicine doctor sent me clorazepam, and it has helped a little with the breathing, although I think about it sometimes.(mainly when I am just laying around, doing nothing)So hey I was wondering about the valium, do you feel that it has really helped you out? And how often do you take it? In the morning, and before going to sleep?
Avatar universal
Im glad your seeing someone!!!!
I think she can help you w/ the distraction techniques...it's hard to master but does work.
She's right...valium is not prescribed very much anymore because it is a longer acting drug and MAY be more addictive.
But see according to my therapist its really no worse because w/ the shorter working drugs like Lorazepam every time it starts to leave your system after 4 hours you go through withdrawels. With Valium it stays in my system until next dose and I don't deal w/ withdrawels on a daily basis. I take 5mg. 3 x a day. AM, mid day and evening. I really don't need it to sleep. I actually use more of a natural sleeping thing...right before bed I take 500mg of calcium and 500 mg. of magnesium. It relaxes and helps sleep to be more restful...maybe that's an idea.
At first the valium made me sleepy but that happens w/ all until your system gets used to it. It has made me more normal than any other anti-anxiety drug out there and it's been around for a very long time. I think the others made me more anxious and depressed. Valium stays in the system longer than Lorazepam.
Sometimes I think Pschiatrist are jerks. It's all about the medication w/ them. Mine can be like that too. I only see him when I ned med refill. I think they see more serious people than us and think we aren;t worth their time! Poop on them! Our lives are just as valuable! I am also into a lot of alternative therapy...yoga, natural remedies, massage therapy, chiropractic thereapy. Some people can not break out of the box especially some docs...a lot of it is about money and it pisses them off when you try to find something on your own that may not be synthetic made.
Talk you later!
Avatar universal
My doctor is just like that. He always has an attitude, and always wants me to admit myself. He actually tells me: "I dont know how you are attending school". Instead of him encouraging me to attend school and try to do something with my life he tells me negative stuff like that.Psychiatrists dont want their patients to get better, because its one less patient they have. Hes been talking to me about changing psychiatrists (for a second opinion) and I think thats what I am going to do because he always has an attitude, and it seems that he just doesnt care.But if he were going thru some of the stuff his patients go thru he wouldn't be so cool and calm. He actually has a tick in his eye! So he probally has more problems than me, but he should leave his problems at home, not take them to work. I am going to try and talk to him about prescribing valium, but I doubt he will, because I've gone to his office a nervous wreck, and he just sends me the same pills. Its like he was saying here take these, now go away and dont bother me no more.I got one question, does the valium make you forget about the breathing to a point that you're just thinking other things rather than the breathing?
Avatar universal
I'm not sure if the valium has made me forget the breathing or if it's a team effort between changing my thinking...focusing on something else and taking valium.
All I know is that it has been the "kindest" med i've taken. I don't feel so depressed on it. It kind of just evens me out. Sometimes I get nervous about thinking about going off of it because it is addictive BUT my doc says I may never need to go off. The effect of valium is not something that changes over time apparently according to her.
There are GOOD doc's out there. You need to find one. It seems like once you get caught in the system it's like a spiderweb. You have to take control of your situation and start making choices that feel good to you even if that deters from what someone else may think. You know your body better than anyone out there and if something isn't working than find another solution. It took me a while to do this...I'm on the road though.
But sometimes my problems seem minor to those I have read in this site. I try to remember that too.
Avatar universal
follow what your breathing wants to do.Hyperventilate if your body is trying to do it. Anxiety is about fighting something. Dont fight it.  trust your body. Dont listen to fears -yours and other peoples. Theres nothing wrong with you. Your body is sending you a signal. Follow it. Changing breath is an important healer, -like laughing and crying are healing breath changes, so is gasping and hyperventilating.
Avatar universal
I have heard that Valium is pretty strong. And that it makes you VERY sleepy. I have been taking Clonazepam 0.5 mg for about 2 weeks now and it has helped a little bit with the breathing anxiety. Sometimes I think about it, sometimes I dont. I mainly dont think about it when I am doing something I enjoy. Its very difficult for one to understand this breathing problem, if they are not experiencing it. Its like sometimes I feel that I do it manually, instead of it being a nonthough process. I dont know how it started, I just woke up one night feeling like this. And it has gone on since Sept. 10.
Avatar universal
If somebody can help me out.. I was taking clonazepam 0.5mg for this 'manual breathing' thing. It sometimes distracted me into thinking other things and I wouldnt be so much focused on my breathing as I was before taking it. But theres a problem, ever since Thursday its like I am not getting distracted anymore. I had a refill, and I said to myself 'maybe I need a higher dosage'. So now I am taking 2 0.5mg instead of 1, so that it will equal to 1mg. Does anybody think that it will start having the same effect? I just truly wish to God that there was some kind of medication out there that would have me distracted all the time, thinking other things, instead of breathing this way. It seems that when I'm doing something my mind goes blank and I forget about 'this breathing problem'. With the clonazepam I would watch a movie and sometimes I would focus on my breathing, and sometimes I would not, but now its like its not doing anything, just keeping me calm?! Someone please help me out.
Avatar universal
Could you try paxil? It seems to have halped me with my breathing- diagnosed as anxiety
Avatar universal
when i was reading this ..i totally thought that i was talking about the breathing problem myself.... I have have this problem on and off for a while now... It is a form of OCD(obsessive complu. disorder) You might want to try either Prozac or Luvox, and a therapist that specializes in OCD...I am 31 and have had the breathing problem...your right it is a living HELL!!!!!I get very weak and dizzy from it...IT SUCKS....The way you described it , is totally the same way I would describe it...It is trying to breathe manually...you cannot just breathe without thinking about it. YOu are actually trying to control it....I am in therapy right now with Dr. Ed Bourne... his number is 1-808-334-1847. He lives in Hawaii and is a very good doc...He does therapy over the phone... Do you also have dizzy spells from the controling breathin thing, and pains in your chest area from it???  Where are you from???
Avatar universal
You know I have been waiting for something to answer my message again. And you are right it IS A LIVING HELL. The medication i am currently taking clonazepam helped at first, it would kinda have me thinking other things without thinking about my breathing, but now it just doesnt do anything. I was taking .5mg in the morning and .5mg at night. But now it seems that it doesnt do anything. My psychiatrist told me now to take it 4 times a day 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm.. I tried that, and its just the same, so I upped it to 1mg and am taking it 4 times a day(not like he told me to take it) and it has helped a 'little' bit but not much. This just started one night. Its incredible how the subconscious can play games on you. I read this book on the powers of the subconscoius mind (which was a big mistake), and now Im paying my dues. Its true what they say, what you dont know, cant hurt you. I really dont know what to do about it anymore, but I am gonna try contacting that doctor. How did this start for you, I'm curious. Im 21, and I hope this goes away someday. When I am doing something my mind wanders off and Im thinking other things, and Im not thinking about my breathing, but when Im sitting down... Thats when it happens. The clonazepam has helped a little, but I just with that it would go away. If I had a choice between contracting amnesia to forget about the breathing, and winning the lottery, which one do you think I'd pick? contracting amnesia for the breathing, thats how bad it is. Somebody without this problem would obviously pick the lottery, but they dont know what its like to live like this.
Avatar universal
i would really suggest that you contact Dr. Bourne....He is a very caring person and very easy to talk to... My breathing anxiety comes and gos but when i have it , it can last for days...I think you need to see another doc...you might try Luvox or Prozac..I really think you have OCD.Are there any other problems you experience??? Where are you from????
Avatar universal
Well that would be a problem because I live in Miami. First of all my breathing problem doesnt come and go, its just there, so I just try to cope with it. Yesterday I had an appointment with my psychiatrist, I told him about the medication and how it was having effect. Originally I went to a general medicine doctor because I thought this problem was my heart or something, and he sent me clonazepam(klonopin) he sent it to me, not my psychiatrist. I took .5mg in the morning, and .5mg at night. It worked alright for a while, my breathing problem would fade away at times BUT, from one day to another the fading away stopped. I went to my psychiatrist told him what happened and he sent the clonazepam 4 times a day (0.5mg), it didnt do s*%t. It helped me a little bit, but I upped the dosage to 1mg, which helped me cope a 'little' bit better. I also suffer from a schizophrenic disorder,but anyway. Yesterday I went to my doctor, told him what I did, and he told me he was going to keep on sending me the same medication. I asked him well cant you up the mg? And he said 1mg is the max dosage, which is a lie because I read that theres upto 2mg. I told him about what I read on the internet, about other suggested medication, such as paxil, etc. And you know what he did? He said 'you want paxil, here you go, heres paxil, he gave me a sample'. But he didnt do this in a nice way, its like he was mocking me or something. So I just let him know how I really felt inside, I told him that ever since I started treating myself with him I've felt like a guinea pig, I told him its because of one of the medications that this idea got implanted into my head, I also told him that its not convenient for you to cure me or any of your patients, because then you'd have know patients. I let him know how I felt. You know what the ******* wanted to do? Admit me. I've never liked this psychiatrist since the beginning I started to treat myself with him, I felt hes an a**hole, and he always gots an attitude. So I am just going to change psychiatrists. But what pissed me off is that he wanted to admit me, because I let him know what was on my mind, how I felt about him, and what I felt he has been doing. I hope to God that my next psychiatrist will be sincere, and will actually want to help. Wanna know something its just a relief that I got this doctor off my chest, because I feel that if I would have kept on going to him, I was just going to get worse. He knew about this anxiety problem for months, and all he would do is send me lorazepam 2mg before going to sleep, which lasts 4hrs... And it wouldnt do nothing, what good is that going to do me, if I am going to spend the rest of the day focusing on my breathing? How come he never mentioned any other medications (that I know they are out there) to cure this, or atleast have it fade away? Why? He didnt want to cure me, so he wouldnt lose a patient.
Avatar universal
Hi.  You are having the same problem that I am.  Constant shortness of breath and then you feel like your manually breathing.  It is hell and it is messing up my life.  I was taking xanax for a bit which seemed to help for a bit, but now not at all.  Mine is constant as well, if I'm lucky I can ignore it for an hour or two.

On a daily basis I wonder if I need to run to a doctor becuase I feel like I am suffocating and am conscious of every breath I take!

I see a Doctor on Wednesday-we'll see how it goes but it sound like there are now quick fixes!

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