Psychiatrist Questions Psychiatrist

Can anxiety cause breathlessness?

I have anxiety and at the same time breathlessness. Can anxiety cause breathlessness?

2 Answers

Yes, anxiety can and frequently does cause breathlessness. And the breathlessness can increase anxiety, in a vicious circle, sometimes to the point of triggering a panic attack. That's why learning simple techniques of relaxation breathing can be so helpful in managing anxiety. The basics of this kind of breathing have been known for centuries, and are routinely practiced in yoga classes, for example. The essentials involve slowing and deepening your breathing, so that you inhale down into your "belly" rather than panting up in your chest. A good way to practice is to lie down in comfortable clothes, place a palm on your belly button, and breathe in slowly. Try to make the hand on your stomach rise, rather than your chest. Count slowly while you're doing this, to six or eight or whatever feels comfortable. Release your breath evenly and slowly through your nose, and inhale again. Concentrate on the breathing itself rather than other thoughts or feelings that occur to you. When distracting thoughts do come, don't latch onto them or battle with them, but let them pass through your mind, visualizing them as a cloud passing, or a chyron on the bottom of a screen that you don't need to pay close attention to. Do this for ten minutes a couple of times a day when you are NOT feeling especially anxious, if possible. Then, when you notice that you're feeling breathless and anxious in the course of a day, take a short breathing break to re-center and feel calmer. * <>* *Manhattan* (212) 480-2426 *Westchester* 275 East Main Street Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 <> (914) 261-2657 <(914)+261-2657>
Yes it can at times