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Panic Disorders Message Board

Panic Disorders Board Index

Interesting that your psychiatrist is stumped. Breathing problems, especially the air hunger sensation followed by the urge and psychological need to take a deep breath, seem to be quite common among people who have panic disorder, GAD, etc... (Just look at all the posts describing this particular symptom.) I'm surprised he hasn't seen somebody with a similar problem.

Maybe he's used to seeing people with acute panic disorder, which is usually characterized by the respiratory sensations we face on a constant, chronic basis, only happening during the panic attack.

That's why I've come to believe this disorder has a lot in common with OCD, or is an unrecognized manifestation of OCD.

The way it happened with me is that I had a classic version of OCD (morbid thoughts) then one night at a wedding (7 years ago) I had a drink of water that went "down the wrong pipe" and of course I choked and gagged, but what stayed with me was that awful feeling of not being able to breathe. And from then on, I was obsessionally focused on my breathing, having to take a deep breath every 20 seconds (just like you) to "convince" myself I was getting enough oxygen.

I know your breathing issues came out of the blue without an apparent trigger, but so did my morbid thoughts.

Remember, the psychological community is still in its infancy with regards to anxiety disorders. I say this, because I don't want you or anyone else with this thing to feel hopeless, and hopelessness is easy to feel when a doctor says, "I don't know."

And I can also say, this is manageable. I too thought I would be like this forever, but I managed this disorder for two years, it came back when I was going through a stressful period, then had a great 3 years, and right now I'm going through a rough period since my sinuses seem to be constantly congested, which trigger the air hunger feeling. I know I need to get into CBT, but I also know I made a lot of progress without CBT, which affirms my belief in CBT.

If your psych isn't versed in CBT, have him refer you to someone who is.

Printing out posts from this webpage is a great idea. Try to convince your psych that this is a common symptom, not a rarity. They need to learn from us, like we learn from them.

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