WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I'M SUFFOCATING

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worrywort87
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 195
   Posted 11/23/2013 12:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Why do I feel like I'm suffocating? Is it common with anxiety? Why does this happen? Help.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 26813
   Posted 11/23/2013 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   
WW,

Feelings of suffocation/breathing difficulties and 'air hunger' are all common with anxiety.

Although breathing is controlled by the autonomous nervous system...and somewhat an automatic process....it is unique in that we have some level of control over it.

Therefore when anxious, we can do it all together wrong! ;p

We often have tension in our chest and upper body, breathe too rapidly and in a shallow manner, and end up fighting for breath, rather than having it be a relaxing, nautural function.

Breathing and relaxation exercises are key for reversing breathing problems. We have some great ideas in our Resources, and I have a favorite breathing exercises that I swear by. I will post it at your request, if I haven't done so already.:)

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

oslooskar
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 41
   Posted 11/23/2013 1:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Woorywort87, I am NOT a physician but my guess is you most likely feel like you’re suffocating because you’re hyperventilating (Over breathing). I suggest you make a conscious effort to slow your breathing down. When I get that same feeling you have, that I’m suffocating, I take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds and then slowly let it out. I then wait between seven and eleven seconds before taking another deep breath and repeating the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grfi3Wgq_NY

lgm1942
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 6008
   Posted 11/23/2013 1:02 PM (GMT -6)   
WW, if you read a lot of the posts here on HW you will find yourself in a large company of people, it seems
to be a nagging part of the panic and anxiety cycle, SC has a lot of resources that can help you break and
control this symptom. For example, if I think about it I will start to feel i'm not breathing properly, I refuse to
dwell on it because its uncomfortable as heck. Peace

Larry ***

Merrida
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jul 2013
Total Posts : 4771
   Posted 11/23/2013 1:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Larry.
 
If you take a look at previous posts, you'll see many, many of them are breathing-related.
 
I experience/d this as well.
 
Sometimes when I'm anxious I'll feel that way, and being aware of my breath, in the moment, conscious-breathing, helps me to realize I'm actually breathing very shallow, not utilizing my full lung capacity.  This, in turn, causes hyper-ventilation, which also starts to muck about with O2/CO2 exchange, and voila,...it exacerbates things more.
 
So it is a cycle.  Grabbing hold when you start to notice will help, don't just suffer along until it's driving you bonkers.
 
S.C. has awesome resources...they really do work!
 
 
 
M.
My time for tears will be at my Victory...not at the start of the War. ~~Vickie

worrywort87
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 195
   Posted 11/26/2013 4:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I've heard about the hyperventilating thing and I try to slow down my breathing and do belly breathing and all that stuff but it does nothing for me... My chest still feels tight and I feel like I'll die at any second because I'll stop breathing. Every time it happens I'll try to take a deep breath and hold it and exhale slowly and fully but it just doesn't seem to help much at all, in fact sometimes it makes me more nervous because it makes put an extra focus on how I'm breathing, thus causing me to worry even more.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 26813
   Posted 11/26/2013 12:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Have I posted 'The Divided Breath' exercise for you? It is the only breathing exercise that ever really helped me...let me know and I'll share:)

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

lgm1942
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 6008
   Posted 11/26/2013 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   
WW, if you really tried you could not stop breathing, even if you passed out, your brain would take over and
breath for you, for me the thing that works is not to think about it. "You are not going to stop breathing".
it's not possible, Peace.

Larry ***

Dipsie
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/25/2015 2:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Cause unknown.

All tests to date turned up negative for me so far. But I have found that taking one or two Bayer low dose (blue) asprins at bedtime work. Occasionally, I do have to take them again before 4 - 5 am if its a particularly bad night. After about 25 minutes it settles down again and I can go back to bed and stop pacing.

Blood pressure normal
Blood oxygen levels normal
Heart rate normal

I also have sleep apnea. Doesn't seem to be the cause either.

All I can figure is its something to do with blood flow to some organ above the neck. Perhaps thyroid, but thyroid blood test came back negative, but who knows. I am going for an ultra sound next month on it, but not holding my breath (sorry, no joke intended).

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 26813
   Posted 2/25/2015 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dipsie and welcome,

I hope that you get the answers that you need soon...

Have you dealt with anxiety issues/symptoms previously?

We have some great self help Resources here at the top of the main page...check them out...the breathing/relaxation and meditation exercises can help!

Feel free to start your own thread of introduction at anytime...this is a rather old posting, and you will get more responses if you start a fresh one.

Scaredy Cat
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

nellebutter
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 318
   Posted 2/25/2015 6:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I have this issue also. It scared the heck out of me the first time I experienced it. I've gotten used to it but it still bothers me. I have a tendency to hold my breath when I'm nervous, uncomfortable, in pain or even just concentrating on something and thats when I become aware of my breathing and start to panic. The breathing exercises that S.C. shared with me have helped alot. I hope you find some relief.
My life is a three ring circus and I'm the ringmaster
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