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Iím 37 years old male, and for about nine month now I suffer from I can best describe a constant and very frequent need to take a deep breath, which in most cases is stuck in the middle of attempt. This is a very common description in this board and other, and probably result from many different origins, psychological as well as physiological. Therefore, Iím going to pinpoint some of the key point in my symptomatology, in order to keep this thread more specific for people whose symptoms are more specifically similar to mine.

- As I said, the most disturbing part of my problem is its consistency: from the morning I wake up till I go to sleep. Currently it is every 2-3 minutes at rest (sitting) most of the time, and rarely more than 5 minutes between attempts. Apart from the deep breathing, I breath pretty slow and shallow.

- When I move around, it gets more frequent (like every minute), but it is not like I am out of breath, just abruptly feel a need to take that deep breath. Moreover, I can exercise (run 2.5-3 miles). Usually when I run, the urge to breath is not as strong (more accurately, it is not strong enough to distract me from the steady breathing pattern), although sometimes I do have it also when running.

- When I lie down, the urge goes away quite immediately. Since Iím very tired of the constant effort I fall asleep pretty fast.

- Taking the deep breath is involuntary Ė happens also when I donít think of it (which becomes more and more rare if at all). Manipulating my breathing Ė trying to breath deeper/shallower/faster/slower/diaphragmatically etc. causes no consistent effect.

- I can hold the deep breath back (even did it for two days once) but this is very demending, especially when walking and even more after climbing stairs, and require me to concentrate on it. The moment I let it go, everything gets back to usual.

- It started (in January) as episodes, which became more and more frequent. Around April I started to have many medical examinations: X-ray, EKG, blood count etc., PFTs, CT, cardiac echo, laryngoscopy. The only thing that may relate to it was my restrictive values, which are low but within norms (80-85% of expected). Iím about to repeat these tests shortly. Aside from that they found fatty liver and some sort of cystic changes in my sternum (which I feel sometime as pain, but this is negligible compared to the deep breathing problem). Most doctors at this stage suggest no organic or physical cause and each in his words send me to investigate psychological aspect.

- Tried some alternative treatments: Yoga breathing exercises, a homeopathic remedy, biofeedback Ė no real influence.

- I never had any anxiety issues before it all started. However, as it got worse I started to have all kind of strange feelings, mainly in my throat and belly, which changed from day to day. Also have some chest pains but this got less frequent as the breathing problem exacerbated, and indeed even in the beginning was associated with time when breathing was better. More recently, I started to have long periods of feeling very shaky, like my chest or back muscles tremble. In the last few weeks I usually wake up early in the morning, not being able to fall back asleep. As long as I lie still I have the deep breathing only very shallowly and infrequently, but along with that I feel that shakiness develops. When I get up, I feel shaky and strangely the deep breathing is a little better at this stage. In an hour or two the shakiness subsides but the breathing becomes unbearable. Needless to say, I am almost completely non-functional for the last half a year. Nevertheless, I donít have ďclassicĒ anxiety or hyperventilation symptoms as fast breathing, sweating or fast heartbeat.

- Lately, as symptoms worsened, I tried to take xanax for about 10 days (1-2 mg/ day). This calmed down my physical and emotional symptoms, and made breathing more ďopenĒ (that is, I was able to take most of the deep breathes, and they were less violent), but their frequency remained the same. I stopped the xanax cause it made me sleepy and I was also afraid of getting addicted. When I stopped, symptoms became bad again in a day or two.

- Iím trying some psychological therapy at the moment, as my medical horizons are getting more and more limited. Iím scheduled with a psychiatrist, and I believe he is going to suggest medication. In my situation, Iím willing to take it, but in all the forum posts I have gone through, which is basically everything there is on the net, I could not find even a single evidence that SSRI/SNRI helped any case of constant deep breathing, which makes me quite dubious regarding that option.

I will be happy to hear from people experiencing similar symptoms, mainly regarding the consistency, the exacerbation over time and the dependency on physical activity. Also, I am curious to hear from people who have/had it and tried different medications. Most people who describe these symptoms tend to disappear from the forums at some stage, either because they give up finding a solution (I donít know how I can live with that forever Ė it is totally disabling) or because they forget of their fellow sufferers once they find a cure. As I am sure there are people around who suffer from this as I do, I hope this post will open a fruitful discussion that will aid us in finding a solution.





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