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don't know why i can't breathe

I'm a 20 y/o female 140lb.. no history of obesity, smoking, vaping, drugs, drinking, asthma or allergies and I haven't had any recent respiratory illnesses. I do have a history of anxiety and panic attacks.

In the past 3 or so weeks I've had problems breathing on and off. A few weeks ago, out of no where, I started feeling like I was suffocating or like I couldn't breathe. It felt like my nose and throat were closing and it was hard to get air in. I thought it might be humidity so I went out and bought a dehumidifier and and air purifier which didn't work. Two days later I was still having these episodes where I couldn't breathe and I thought it might be seasonal allergies.. even though I've never experienced allergies in my life and don't have any of the other symptoms(red, itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing ..etc.), I thought I would try claritin, so i took one of those and a few hours later I felt like it was impossible to breathe, I felt like i was being smothered and I started hyperventilating so my dad took me to the ER. Immediately they checked my oxygen level and said it was 100% and i was getting air in, and they thought it might just be a panic attack. They tested for all the major things, blood clots, x-rayed my heart, checked my lungs and said they didn't hear any wheezing, gave me a breathing treatment and an ativan for anxiety. They sent me home with an albuterol inhaler and prednisone which I didn't take. The doctor said he thought it was a panic attack, and could have possibly been an allergy to something but he had no way to tell.

It's been about 2 weeks since then and I still have problems breathing on and off where I feel like my nose is closing and I can't get air in through my nose and when I try to breathe through my mouth it just feels like my throat or lungs are tightening and It's hard to get air in. I've taken the albuterol inhaler about 4 times in the past week and a half and I feel like it helps, but I can't tell if it's mental or not. I do notice that whatever I think is causing it, causes me not to be able to breathe in that situation. Like, at first I thought it was seasonal allergies and whenever I would go outside I would feel like I couldn't breathe and as soon as I would go inside the feeling would go away. But then I thought I was allergic to my cat, and I didn't have seasonal allergies, so now I'm fine when I go outside, I have no problems breathing outside, but whenever I'm in my room with my cat I can't breathe. Although it does still happen randomly even though i'm not in the room with my cat anymore, or going outside.

I've been to two different doctors since then and one suggested it might be acid reflux, but they both say it's anxiety and prescribe me zoloft and ativan. When I talk to my therapist about it she doesn't really have any answers and tells me to just take allergy meds. Please help, i'm scared to go outside, scared to go in my room, scared to be alone in my house, and i'm thinking of dropping my college class which starts in two days because i'm scared i won't be close enough to a hospital if I can't breathe.
1 Responses
207091 tn?1337709493
It sounds like it could be allergies, or anxiety/panic disorder.

Why don't you get allergy testing done? If you are allergic to your cat, it would be good to know that. You don't have to get rid of it, but maybe just take allergy meds.

If you are having environmental allergies, there are treatments for that, too. It's important to rule out allergies.

However, you're already seeing a therapist. Anxiety and panic attacks aren't new for you. Could it be that your anxiety and panic are worsening? Have you had any recent stressful events? Are you nervous about college this year? Are you not enjoying college?

Do you see a psychiatrist? Maybe you should get a full psychiatric evaluation done.

I'm sure that whatever it is, you'll figure it out. Just take it as baby steps.
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