Panic Attack Central Factors in Shortness of Breath Anxiety

posted in: Health Tips | 15

Breathing difficulty may result from panic attacks. Our metabolic activity depends on many things like hormone level  or rate of metabolism. Breathing difficulty includes all associated ailments that cause shortness of breath such as  attacks of panic or anxiety, shortness of breath anxiety and hyperventilationCalm the person down and use a paper bag technique for breathing..[toc]

Ways to handle hyperventilation

The condition of hyperventilation is said to manifest when your breath is too shallow. Thew afflicted person will show these signs:

  • Breath is shallow
  • Face shows signs of panic
  • Arms or legs may show spasms
  • Person will not be able to talk

One can reverse the symptoms by doing the following things:

  1. Actuate parasympathetic response
  2. Stay calm
  3. Breathe natural manner

First be rid of flight-fight reaction by tapping the sternum for 15- 20 seconds. Massage shoulders  gently – force him or her to take deep breaths. This you can do by laying him or her down, placing a pillow upward on stomach.

Talk in low confident  reassuring manner so that they  have no further panic attack. Tell them everything will soon be right. Do anything to make breathing normal again. Try decrease the rapidity of breath by making person breathe through one nostril alone.

Panic Attack Symptoms 

Shortness of breath primarily indicates panic attack. Reasons for this to happen is  anxiety caused due to imbalance of hormones that create a flight response – stay and fight reaction or it may be due to your way of dealing with shortness of breath anxiety.

  1. Heart that beats too fastBreathing becomes difficult during panic attacks
  2. Sense something terrible happening near you
  3. Chest pains
  4. Unable to master the situation
  5. Become dizzy or weak
  6. Breathing becomes difficult
  7. Sweat and get chills
  8. Numbness or tingling in fingers
  9. You become irrational
  10. Hallucinations

Nature of breath during the attacks

Breathing is shallow and occurs from top of lungs. This hyperventilation could occur due to:

  • Lung disease
  • Heart attack
  • Psychological reason
  • Blood loss
  • Less blood flow in the cerebrum
  • Chemical imbalances
  • Infection

Breathing into an airbag will sometimes prove to be effective when you hyperventilate. Another way to become normal is to deliberately slow down the breath rate by making the person focus on the pendulum of a clock.

Deal with anxiety

Anxiety cannot be equated to shortness of breath. You cannot say shortness of breath is same as anxiety. For one, anxiety is purely from the mind. Shortness of breath might be a manifestation of anxiety.


Coping With Shortness of Breath

Breathing difficulty is a physical condition often accompanied by lightheadedness. Approach to beat the situation is by balancing the mind to react normally. Here is the way to do it.

  • Distract the mind
  • Train the mind
  • Train the breath

Break the racing thoughts

When the problem is with the person unable to take his or her mind off from thinking about breathing – forget about the pattern of breathing and intensity of their breath and become more restful – it is imperative that they go watch television. Call someone up, sing a song or listen to music – anything to take the mind to another situation. Make a list of things you really like – watching a dance recital, studying cooking, making artwork – and pull this list out when you begin to panic. Usually the attack will last only for ten or fifteen minutes. You have to get through this period without getting excited.

Restraining the Mind – The Calming Response

Shortness of breath anxiety is more mental than physical.Training the mind is a long term solution. You figure out (either by yourself or with professional help) what is causing this panic attack. It might have connection to some incident in your life or it might have been brought on by illness. Think about the people in your social circle and think about anyone who is not keeping in character. Social pressures might be upsetting the balance of your mind.

Breathing in the proper manner

Training the breath is also a long term solution. For this you have to take up yoga, jogging, dancing or meditation. Yoga is apt for those who are overweight, have aversion to exercises or like the calm and peaceful approach of yoga. It can cure many physical illnesses if done properly. It helps you develop proper method of breathing.  Dancing or jogging helps you develop rhythm to increase confidence and thereby breathing pattern. Meditation opens mind to help you tackle problems from an easy perspective. It brings peace to the inner self and helps promote proper breath control.

Medication that can help

One treats panic disorder with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines. Since anti-anxiety drugs might form addiction doctors are careful to  prescribe it for few days only. The  medicines listed below prevent  anxiety onset  while others help in cure problem.

Action of these SSRI medicines occurs on hormones norephinephrine and serotonin present in the brain. One may employ antihistamines or beta-blockers as needed.

For those who have extreme anxiety attacks, medicines like Valium, Xanax, and Ativan, all belonging to the benzodiazepine medicine group. These medicines have several side effects like inducing drowsiness and creating attention and memory problems.


Therapy can show positive results, but it will take time. Even then patients may suffer relapse and need further treatment. There is a possibility for addiction to the drug given and so patients will never be given long term doses. Anxiety is curable and people who undergo therapy can recover fully over time. Learn proper breathing techniques and this will help you.

15 Responses

  1. I used to have breathlessness when I was young. Nowadays, I exercise regularly and eat health foods to improve my stamina.

  2. I used to get panic attacks often when I was young. I took up meditation and daily exercises and now I am able to control these anxiety attacks.

  3. This information is precious. I mean it. I think we can save a life if we know the method.

  4. Penelope

    My child Jason who is only ten years old gets excited and breathing becomes very short and rapid when he comes shopping with me. The psychotherapist told us that it was because of his inability to handle stress in public places. He is now undergoing treatment.

  5. I did not know about the paper bag method. Sounds good advice man. Really useful.

  6. My husband suddenly starts hyperventilating and so always carries a paper bag with him. He has started yoga breathing and this seems to have helped because the attacks are becoming less these days.

  7. Josey Lindberg

    My friend Viola has severe breathing complaints. She always keeps popping pills and telling us to go slow. I really pity her.When I read this article I remembered her.

  8. Dom Kacka

    Yes, this does sound terrible. I hope the people who suffer from this have adequate help in time.

  9. Hyperventilation does not seem to be a disease. But you tell that it is possible that some people will be affected. I must mark the cures. Thank you.

  10. Jeev Durbar

    I know my friend who gets these attacks. He is always telling us what to do when it happens. I know how to put the paper bag to his mouth. Your article tells just the right thing.

  11. Sukbhir

    This panic attack is somewhat strange. But reading the article I realize how serious it is.

  12. Fred Gonsales

    I have recurring attacks. I carry a paper bag and have medicines too. is there any age limit for this to appear?

  13. John McCormack

    The hormonal imbalance will only occur later in life. The chances of children developing this is very rare.

  14. John Levy

    My brother gets panic attacks. He always carries his pills with him. Sometimes, when the attack comes on, people near him help him. He swallows the pills and gets along.Nice article.

  15. Yes, these attacks are so sudden. That is the worry. I have it once a month or so.

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