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I have suffered from deep breathing problems for the last 3-4 years. At first, it was only occasionally, and I thought it was s

Posted by jennigens

simply anxiety.  I then followed up with an ENT who tested me for allergies (none) and who said my pulmonary capacity was fine.  I went to the Diagnostic Clinic in Houston where they ran batteries of tests, including for my thyroid and blood levels.  I was sent to a cardiologist for possible PPH, but that was ruled out.  They stated i had a healthy heart, and the cardiologist suggested anti-anxiety medication.

 However, the problem is not simply from anxiety.  It also occurs when I exercise (5-6) times a week, and throughout the day.  It has gotten worse this past week and scares me.  I was prescribed Xanax but do not take it daily.  However, when the breathing problem starts, I take it, but it doesn't seem to really help.

 Any suggestions are welcome.  It is affecting my daily life as I am exhausted and even more anxious about it.  Plus, it is uncomfortable.  Thank you for your help.

Answers (1)
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Ian Health Maven
I can't comment on a possible purely physical cause, jennigens. The tests you've had seem to have covered the most likely physical causes.

It is not uncommon for people with anxiety to either unconsciously vary respiration which produces symptoms of respiratory distress or to perceive breathing problems where there are none. An additional complication is that increased CO2 levels can trigger or worsen anxiety.

Even though Xanax® (alprazolam) is a fast acting benzodiazepine, it may still take 30 minutes or so to become fully effective which is a long time when you are experiencing breathing difficulties. Perhaps continual medication with either a longer acting benzodiazepine - clonazepam (Klonopin®) or diazepam (Valium®), or an antidepressant would be better in your situation. I'd lean toward the latter because benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants which can affect respiration.

However, IMO, you should initially considering Cognitive Behavior Therapy which can help you develop counters to the thought patterns I suspect are driving these symptoms. Your physician should be able to recommend a CBT therapist in your area.

Best wishes


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