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Shortness of Breath and Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Shortness of Breath and Anxiety

Shortness of breath and anxiety - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

30-Second-Summary
  • Feeling short of breath can make a person feel even more anxious.
  • Shortness of breath anxiety can also occur because of a lot of circumstances; we all know that. Covid-19 is a concerning, hot topic at the moment.
  • This article is about the shortness of breath due to anxiety.
  • Anxiety in itself is associated with Covid-19. In this article, a medical doctor will discuss the differences between shortness of breath if you have Covid-19 or whether you are anxious.
  • Did you know that you can deal with shortness of breath through fantastic breathing exercises for anxiety or supplements?

Introduction

When someone is anxious, that person knows about feelings of restlessness and being irritable, feeling wound up, and unable to concentrate. In some cases, anxiety is linked with panic-like symptoms of shortness of breath anxiety. These can be –

  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Feelings of impending doom
Anxiety and panic have associations with fear. The feelings of fear can often cause behavioral and physiological changes to occur that prepare the person to defend themselves against a threat.

The brain is a wonderful organ in the body and has been wired to react to fearful situations. The heart rate speeds up, so it can increase the flow of blood to the organs faster, which gets the muscles ready for action.

The fearful person breathes quicker to provide more oxygen to the tissues. However, this can result in shortness of breath anxiety.

When you see a doctor, he will be able to rule out if you do have severe breathing problems or heart problems.

Anxiety and panic attack

Is There a Connection Between Short Breath and Anxiety?

A short answer – yes. People who get anxious know the symptoms of shortness of breath anxiety.

These are feelings of restlessness, feeling wound-up, not being able to concentrate, and irritability.

In a lot of cases, anxious people say they feel panicky and experience the symptoms mentioned above. They talk to others as if they have been running and can’t catch their breath.

When people are panicky and anxious, fear is also present, which causes the brain to prepare for a “flight response.”

The heart rate increases to help the blood to flow fast. This gets the muscles ready for action.

The person starts breathing quickly so that more oxygen can get supplied to the muscles. This results in shortness of breath, which is often a result of anxiety.

As with other symptoms of shortness of breath anxiety, they can be concerning, but they are ultimately harmless. When anxiety fades, the symptoms seem to fade away.

The quickest and best way to deal with it is to sit comfortably, close your eyes, and breathe in deeply through your nose for about 6 seconds.

Hold your breath for about 2-3 seconds, then release your breath slowly through your pursed lips. Repeat this a few times.

What Are the Symptoms of Shortness of Breath Anxiety?

dizzy-woman-suffering-vertigo-attack-standing

Many people will say they are anxious about the coronavirus; they are scared of getting it – they are worried that their symptoms of shortness of breath anxiety have to do with the virus.

Because both anxiety and the coronavirus are associated with shortness of breath, a qualified doctor, Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones, discusses the differences of shortness of breath with anxiety and shortness of breath if you have the virus – to put your mind at rest. But as we deal with anxiety and shortness of breath, these are some symptoms you might experience:

  • Anxiousness aggravated by the symptoms of shortness of breath anxiety
  • Chest injury
  • Sputum with blood in it
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Neck pain
  • Labored breathing
  • Pleurisy pain
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Wheezing

If you do experience a panic attack or the causes of shortness of breath anxiety, it is suggested that you shouldn’t fight the attack.

Sit down and breathe in deeply and slowly, remembering that the attack will pass. It is also important to remember that a panic attack is not a life-threatening state to be in, even though it can feel like that at the time.

Remember in the future that meditation and playing music to relax the mind and body, or smelling and touching things that you love and make you feel happy and calm will also make you feel grounded.

What Are the Causes of Shortness of Breath Anxiety?

woman-suffering-anxiety-attack-alone-night

The way you breathe is a good indication of the internal state of your body. It will make sense then that if you are undergoing a panic attack or an anxiety attack from the causes of shortness of breath anxiety, your breathing will reflect that.

Research indicates that any changes in breathing can bring on a panic attack or increased levels of anxiety.

Shortness of breath regarding anxiety disorders and panic attacks can arise from genetic or hormonal components. Many people suffer from anxiety and shortness of breath.

When The Body Thinks You Are in Danger, Anxiety Sets In

Your nervous system starts off a physiological response, so you can better protect yourself from the causes of shortness of breath anxiety.

Quick breath and a racing heart are the physical symptoms. These reactions are what helped our early ancestors to run away from attack or threat, and they are what make us feel winded today!

When you feel breathless, it’s because you can’t get enough air as you are already breathing at your max, almost like hyperventilating.

It is ironic to think that breathing too much, like when you have been running, can feel like you are not getting enough air.

Your throat can also feel like it’s closing up when you are anxious because of a type of vocal cords dysfunction.

When the airways feel like they are not opening up the way they should when you are trying to breathe, it makes normal breathing appear difficult. This can cause you to become even more anxious, like a vicious cycle.

What Are the Best Treatments to Use for Shortness of Breath Anxiety?

serene-calm-business-woman

If you have shortness of breath, good exercise, certain supplements and medications can help. Some relaxation techniques can also do the job.

Medical write-ups online could offer you solutions to help you get rid of shortness of breath anxiety.

Mindful breathing really can achieve amazing health benefits for you. Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques all focus on the breath.

They all help to calm the body and mind. Meditation practitioners, for thousands of years, have known that taking care of your breath keeps the mind and body healthy.

Today, stress management programs are being developed to meet contemporary anxiety problems.

To cope with anxiety, the experts will often recommend breathing exercises. These exercises help to slow the heart rate and make people feel calm. Here are some fantastic breathing exercises to try for shortness of breath anxiety.

  • Deep breathing exercises for anxiety
  • Quieting response
  • Mindful breathing
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • 4-7-8 breathing
  • Mantra breathing
  • Square breathing
  • Nostril breathing
  • Pranayama breathing
  • Belly breath breathing
  • The Wim Hof breathing method

The Benefits of Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

We all know, too, that breathing is a necessity of life. When you breathe improperly, it can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.

This can contribute to panic attacks, anxiety, fatigue, and other emotional and physical disturbances.

Shallow breathing can contribute to anxiety because people take shallow breaths. It causes upsets in the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body.

Then you experience increased heart rate, muscle tension, dizziness, and other physical sensations. If the blood doesn’t get properly oxygenated, it can create a stress response that contributes to anxiety and panic attacks.

A benefit of deep breathing is that it helps you avoid the “fight-or-flight” response to mentally or physically stressful situations. The above breathing exercises for anxiety come with great benefits to the body. Just look at them –

  • Reduces stress levels in your body
  • Lowers your heart rate
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Improves diabetic symptoms
  • Reduces depression
  • Better manages chronic pain
  • Regulates the body’s reaction to fatigue and stress
  • Increases energy
  • Breathing exercises for anxiety relieve pain
  • Improves digestion

young-woman-practicing-yoga-exercise

Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone at some time in their lives will experience mild anxiety.

Some people’s reactions to anxiety can be even more extreme and occur when they are performing normal daily activities.

This is called an anxiety disorder, of which you get many like generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and social anxiety. Practice some ways of reducing it[1], such as breathing exercises for anxiety.

Different breathing techniques can help you feel better and calmer. There are solutions, so you don’t have to fear.

Breathing exercises help you relax and are one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is when you take in deep breaths. Then a message gets sent to the brain for you to calm down and relax.

It’s a well-established scientific fact that you can dramatically impact your mood just by what you eat. Some common natural vitamins for anxiety include:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Omega 3 is essential for cognitive functioning and has been known to improve symptoms of depression often linked with anxiety disorders.
  • Probiotics - Research has revealed that probiotics can have a huge effect on mental health. Having a healthy balance of bacteria in the body can boost the way you deal with stress dramatically.
  • The B-Vitamins - B vitamins are vital to a healthy nervous system functioning.
  • L-Theanine - L-theanine is known as an essential amino acid that improves focus, reduces stress, and promotes relaxation when it comes to the causes of shortness of breath anxiety. Research demonstrates that human responds positively to stress with L-Theanine supplementation.
  • Over-the-counter Calming Medications and Supplements - We have mentioned a few calming medications that you can take that will help you greatly with anxiety. One natural solution that may help you feel calm is Relaxia. You only need to take 1 pill a day. It contains Ashwagandha, 5 HTP, L-Theanine, and Lemon Balm.

Conclusion

Anyone who has experienced shortness of breath along with anxiety, and even panic disorders, knows that it is not pleasant.

You want something to take straight away that will prevent this from ever happening. You are all too familiar with the trembling and shaking, heart palpitations, tingling and shaking, and when you talk to people, you can hardly get the words out – you are experiencing shortness of breath anxiety.

Some people even say they feel like they are suffocating or choking. Shortness of breath is a common symptom, though, adding to the feelings of anxiety and fear that you experience when you have a panic attack.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to help manage these breathing issues during anxiety and panic attacks.

Relaxation techniques can make you learn to relax the muscles and elicit a sense of peace and calm.

Early diagnosis and intervention can improve outcomes and well-being of the causes of shortness of breath anxiety. Chat with your doctor if you have other concerns.

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