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For the past week, I've been experiencing shortness of breath and a feeling like I can't get a deep breath. This goes on all day and night. I know I have anxiety and just recently starting talking to a therapist, but the psychiatrist cannot see me until March. My physician gave me ativan to take only when "I feel like I am going to die." So I took one on Monday night when I felt the lack of breathing was making me panic more and getting me into a major attack. I took .5 mg, and it did nothing to help. My question is, do anti-anxiety meds help with shortness of breath symptoms or does it just help with certain symptoms, etc...? I feel so frustrated by the fact that it didn't help and I am feeling helpless now.

Last night, I woke up at midnight gasping for air. It was so scary. Living with anxiety like this is really screwing up my life! Any suggestions are welcome!

Also, I came off birth control pills 3 months ago and 2 months ago, I've started having anxiety for the first time ever in my life... I'm 29. Do you think it could be related? A hormonal thing? I was thinking of going back on the pill to see if it helps the anxiety.
It is hyperventilation! That is how panic gets started. Once you get nervous you start taking short breaths or hold your breath, this causes your body to experience a lack of oxygen which makes you breath quicker and shorter and it escalates until you actually feel like you can't get enough air. At the same time your body is setting off a warning bell in your body that you are suffocating and it releases adrenaline which makes you even more panicky and triggers you "fight or flight" response. This all creschendos(sp) beautifully to create the perfect storm in your mind and body called a panic attack. The best way to attack this problem is through breathing exercises. Meditation is an excellent way to practice breath control and it is also really relaxing and helps destress before a tough day at work. I would warn you tough that sometimes this problem is more severe than you can handle on your own and medication may be needed on a short or long term basis. I would definitely seek out a specialist in your area who deals with Panic and Anxiety dissorders. I think that book was probably a good purchase!

Good luck,

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