Anxiety Breathing Disorders

Anxiety Breathing Disorders

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Anxiety Breathing Disorders


Anxiety has physical symptoms as well as mental and emotional ones. One physical reaction to anxiety is a problem with breathing.

An Anxiety Breathing Disorder can appear as feelings of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, possibly leading to hyperventilating. An individual who is not getting enough oxygen and air into their lungs due to breathing problems can experience a rush of adrenalin, which in turn can lead to an increased heartbeat, palpitations, dizziness and possibly fainting. The onset of this is often referred to as a panic attack. First time sufferers of panic attacks often think they are experiencing something more sinister such as a heart attack, but in fact these symptoms, whilst extremely unpleasant, are not actually harmful.

There are also recent studies suggesting a link between sufferers of breathing disorders such as asthma and those suffering from anxiety disorders. There has been a high degree of anxiety and depression found amongst those diagnosed with breathing disorders, possibly indicating that susceptibility to one may also mean a susceptibility to the other.

Panic attacks can be experienced by sufferers of all types of anxiety disorders, but they are especially prevalent to sufferers of Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Agoraphobia.

There is anti-anxiety medication available as treatment for those suffering anxiety breathing disorders. However there are also several techniques that can be employed to reduce breathing problems as they occur. These techniques are not a cure but they can help the sufferer cope more effectively.

  • Work to lengthen breaths: An extended inhalation helps to stimulate the brain and the senses by bringing more oxygen into the body. An extended exhalation helps the body to relax. These techniques are used in practices such as yoga and are known to have a calming and relaxing influence.
  • Exercise regularly: Frequent exercise improves cardio vascular performance and respiration.
  • Use distractions or diversion techniques; such as listening to music, concentrating on solving a particular problem or engaging in a physical activity.
  • Splashing the face with cold water: This causes the brain to send a message to the body to slow down. It is known as a "dive reflex" and makes the body optimize breaths and therefore respiration more effectively.

Although breathing difficulties are a common and usually harmless symptom of anxiety disorders, those experiencing them should always seek the advice of a medical professional to confirm that they are not related to anything else.

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Anxiety Breathing Disorders

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