Breathing difficulties,new Anxiety Symptom? - Anxiety Support

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Breathing difficulties,new Anxiety Symptom?

Started with a cough early on Christmas day, I do have health anxiety, but didn't see my GP,as I thought it would be gone in a week. On the morning of day 7 I was having breathing difficulties,I live alone and it scared me.I felt like I couldn't breathe for quite a few moments, then I dialed 111 and an emergency ambulance was called.By this time I was quite distressed, but the paramedics managed to calm me.I was told at A&E I had a chest infection.My worry is that is this a new anxiety symptom? I'm 68 and female living alone.This happened yesterday and from time to time I'm having these breathing 'spasms'. Which in turn is making me even more anxious,can anyone help to reassure me about this as I feel it's escalating. I am on antibiotics and ventolin.

5 Replies

Asenath, breathlessness is indeed a symptom of anxiety but then almost every symptom of real physical illness can be mimiced by anxiety.

You say you have health anxiety and you've been checked over by A&E so the smart money is on the breathlessness being a symptom of your health anxiety and has been prompted by your awareness that you have a respiratory infection. See if the ventolin helps when you get these spasms and breathlessness. Your cough should heal soon and so long as you keep as calm as possible and don't react with mega-loads of fear when you feel the shortness of breath then that will pass too before long. But if you feel you need more reassurance talk to your G.P., and speak to him/her about your worries

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Thank you for replying Jeff,you are very reassuring, I have been visiting Dr. Google,I know it's not helpful but I was desperate,I have a sister-in-law who has more or less said same as you.I just don't need any more crappy anxiety symptoms starting up,but I suppose that's down to me and how I deal with this latest thing. What you say makes sense because if I can distract myself enough there is no breathing problem,but the second I remember I feel my throat closing and the panic rising. I'm 68 and really thought I'd nailed this damn thing. The thing is not to panic, which takes quite a bit of practice but if that's what it takes I'll do it. Thank you Jeff I appreciate your kind and helpful words.


Forgot to say Jeff, I have a GP appointment on Friday and will definitely seek his reassurance too. Cheers Jeff.


asenath, I say this to most people on this forum so I'll say it to you though you may already be familiar with what I say.

I'm 74, anxiety runs in the family, and when it hit me bad in the 1970s I read a book my mother had a lot of confidence in and which helped her so much over the years. That book has helped untold thousands to recover from or (in the case of inherited anxiety) to control their anxiety, it has sold half a million copies and been translated into 14 languages.

It's titled 'Self help for your nerves' by Doctor Claire Weekes in the U.K. or 'Hope and help for your nerves' in the U.S., same book, both titles available from Amazon.

Weekes' method is based on accepting the symptoms of anxiety for the moment and not fighting them. She also explains in simple terms why we experience anxiety and her book brings understanding, reassurance and a method which she claimed would allow anybody to recover no longer how bad or long they had suffered. On the u.k. and u.s. versions of Amazon it has been reviewed by over 600 readers and 90% rate it Very Good or Excellent. The phrase 'saved my life' appears regularly in the reviews.

You may well find that reading this short book devoid of medical terms and first published in the 1960s could help you greatly with your health anxiety. You will soon recognise yourself in its pages.


Thank you Jeff,I have this book and normally would immerse myself in it,but I've not been able to concentrate at all for the last 2 days, I'll certainly get back to it this evening though Jeff it's kept in my bedside cabinet. Perhaps I'll be fractionally calmer and more able to digest her words.This book has worked for me in the past.I'm afraid I've been too panicked to think straight,but thanks for reminding me!

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