Is this an anxiety symptom?: Hi all, I know... - Anxiety Support

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Is this an anxiety symptom?


Hi all, I know I've asked this before, but in a different way. I feel the urge to sigh, that is to take a very big full deep breath with my lungs overinflating and my chest expanding really, unusually big, and often I feel that is not satisfying. I feel the need to do this every few seconds, especially when I walk or do any excersion, in fact that makes it worse. The only time this doesn't happen is in the five minute walk it takes me to get to my doctor (his office is two blocks from me.) I researched HVS (Hyperventilation Syndrome) and Adrenal Fatigue, but discovered that both are not officially accepted by the medical profession at large. So...could this be caused by abnormal breathing? (Though I don't see why, my breathing, as far as I know, hasn't changed since a month ago before this started.) Or is this a symptom of generalized anxiety and/or panic disorder? It does seems to be worse in certain situations, too. Thank you.

30 Replies

I used to do this to the point it made me light headed and dizzy, it went away once my anxiety got under control and I just didnt think about it anymore. Feel better soon. :)

in reply to Mpa5524

Thank you. I wish I can get this under control!

in reply to Cforte

You will,, took me a few different meds (trial and error) to finally have one that works (knock on wood) and also given a beta blocker which helped alot

in reply to Mpa5524

Which meds? I was prescribed a short trial of 0.5 mg of Xanax 3 times a day or when needed. But I was told Xanax makes you sleepy and to only take it at night. What do I do during the day? (btw, I haven't taken any yet...I've had a severe Cold and didn't want to mix it with the cough and cold medicine I've been taking.) Thanks again.

in reply to Cforte

I was on zoloft, celexa and they didnt work. Also had xanax to take as needed and that wasnt working. Dr. switched me to prozac and added a beta blocker, which I should of taken last year when my heart dr recomended it but I refused. And so far so good. Also the dr had switched me to ativan and off xanax cause it lasted longer but even those now I havent taken in weeks. So you prob need an antidepressant for during the day. But all up to you and your dr. everyone is different. I suffered from health anxiety/gad/and situational disorder they called it (fear of change,lol) go figure.

in reply to Mpa5524

Thank you. Yes, I think I do need an anti-depressant. As long as it isn't much of a stimulant. Stimulants, like caffeine, ginseng, guarana, taurine, and ephedrine, now make my anxiety worse. Like I am more hyper-intuned with my body and thus think more about my heart and breathing, causing me to panic.

in reply to Cforte

Im on a very low dose of prozac 10mg, dr moved me up and didnt so well so moved me back down and been three months now. I would drink coffee twice a day and cut out all caffeine when i was going through my panic attacks because it made it worse. I just recently started adding caffeine back in and so far so good also. I needed it, was bascially a zombie at work without it.

in reply to Mpa5524

Same here. I need something to wake me up. Even when I do sleep at night, which is rare, I'm still a zombie at work. But I can't have anything that will make me breathe harder.

It’s a symptom of anxiety. And the more sensitized your nerves are, the more you tend to do it. That’s one way I can tell my anxiety is showing up, or getting bad, I start doing that sighing thing & taking deep breaths. I just close my eyes & focus on relaxing, breathe slowly. That kind of helps for the time being, but healing is a process. When your nervous system calms down, this symptom will go away.

in reply to Usagold

I wish it would calm down already! This has been going on for 3 weeks and my chest muscles are always sore from it. And it makes me panic when I take so many deep breaths that sometimes they don't feel satisfying. I've tried breathing techniques. They haven't helped me. But thank you, I feel better knowing I'm not alone in this.

I promise you it’s anxiety and the best thing to do is ignore it or even laugh about it when you’re doing it. Anxiety tries anything to get your attention and you’re letting it. Don’t give this breathing thing a second thought! Let your body breathe however it wants to. This will improve and disappear before you know it!

in reply to Usagold

Wish I could do that. But my chest hurts all the time now and the constant deep breaths keep me up at night. I also can't focus on anything else when I am taking such huge breaths every few seconds. I'll see what my doctor says tomorrow. Maybe I should try that very low dose of Xanax i was prescribed (once my Cold completely clears up) or maybe there is something else that can help...even if just temporarily. But thanks again, Usagold.


I HAVE THIS. It is NOT anxiety. You are not alone in this. It took me three years, twenty doctors, and multiple visits to the ER to figure it out. I used to be a half-marathon runner, but now I struggle to breathe just walking from one room to another.

You're right - adrenal fatigue is not widely accepted by the medical community. But the medical community is wrong. Please read this:

Check out his site. You might find all your answers.

I'm assuming you've had all other workups? And they were normal?

Best of luck to you...I was called "crazy and anxious" by doctors for years.

Are you okay now? Did you get help?

I am getting help now. The adrenals can take up to two years to heal. I started a protocol a couple months ago and have noticed some improvement.

My health started declining at age 23 (I'm 26 now) right after my only cousin passed away unexpectedly, I was graduating from college, and I had had many multiple colds/flus from working at elementary schools. My body could not handle the major stress and bacteria/viruses I kept having, so my adrenals became weakened very quickly. As I said before, it took three years for me to come to the conclusion. I would hate for someone else to go through the hell I've been through with severe adrenal fatigue.

I know how miserable this feels, so please feel free to ask me anything. I am here to help.

One of my theories is that I have been on caffeine and other powerful stimulants (like ephedra alkaloids) practically every single day for almost 15 years that my body may not be used to functioning without them, or that I depleted a lot of my adrenalin by being so high on stimulants for so long. But then again, all these "symptoms" just hit me like a bag of rocks just a few weeks ago. Especially the breathing problem. My doctor theorized the same thing, and said my body will rebound and regain its natural energy and strength, it would just take a while. I'll try using some multi-vitamins as mentioned in that link you provided and try to eat more protein. I haven't been eating much at all lately since this started and in two weeks I lost 8 pounds and I was underweight already (just 165 pounds top at 6 feet, and all in my stomach), plus I haven't been drinking water or anything else much either. Maybe some more water, more vitamins, more healthy food, and some exercise might help? The good thing is that article in that link did say Adrenal Fatigue is not life-threatening, it is just uncomfortable and can cause anxiety. So while I fight the Adrenal Fatigue with vitamins, exercise, and healthy foods, I might still try an antidepressant or anti-anxiety med because I can't stand the panic attacks this is causing me.

It sounds like your body is exhausted from the chronic stimulant use.

Anxiety/nervousness IS a symptom of adrenal fatigue. I do not believe that anxiety itself is a disorder. It is a symptom of an underlying problem (weakened adrenals, hormonal imbalance, nutritional imbalance, etc). I'm not a doctor but what I've read about you so far is very similar to what happened to me. My breathing problems came up suddenly one day (I had no issues ever before age 23). They started happening more and more frequently, I stopped being able to go to the gym and over time developed other symptoms too like heart racing, extreme exhaustion/low stamina, etc.

There are four stages of adrenal fatigue, and I am currently in the later stages (adrenal exhaustion). If I were you, I would talk to a well-versed Adrenal Fatigue doctor (warning - they're hard to find) before starting any supplements or major changes to lifestyle. I was using the internet to try and treat myself and ended up having "crashes" just from taking too much Vitamin C. So be careful. I am currently being treated by the doctor in the link I sent you. He has tons of really really informative (and free) stuff on his site, so that could be a start. I can honestly say he has saved my life.

For now, until you can talk to a doctor who can help treat this, be very gentle with your body. Get plenty of rest, avoid caffeine, sugar. Some suggest going no dairy/wheat, but I think the caffeine and sugar are most important to avoid. Don't try any strenuous exercise. Some walking/yoga (if you can handle it without issues) can be done, but don't push yourself. I am giving you advice from what I've learned through my health journey. Everyone is different, so just listen to your body.

Unfortunately, even if I found a dr who knows Adrenal Fatigue here (I'm in San Diego, CA), my insurance may not pay for it. I may be stuck. Hopefully my doctor is right, and my body will re-adjust on its own (with a little help.)

Hey, I'm living in San Diego too! How funny!

Yeah, the naturopaths are expensive and usually don't take insurance. I started a Go-Fund-Me for my medical treatment because I had lost all my money from going to specialists and having procedures/work ups over the last couple years. Do what you gotta do. I really hope you can get well.

If I wasn't so broke myself, I'd contribute to your Go Fund Me campaign. I hope it is successful for you. Maybe we'll run into each other sometime! Lol Thank you for your well wishes.

Oh, thank you. There's nothing worse than being broke and sick.

Maybe we will! I live on the East side near SDSU, and my name's Alexis...not Justcantbreathe lol.

Take care, and feel free to contact me anytime.

I live in Bankers Hill and am very involved in the Little Italy neighborhood. My name is Chris. Thank you. One question I have: are you feeling better? Is the "treatment" (if you want to call it that) the Adrenal Fatigue experts gave you working? I can't stay away from caffeine. I am too tired, sluggish and even winded too easily all day. I drink one, maybe two cups of coffee, max. And sometimes it doesn't even help. Anyways, I don't think it hurts to do what my doctor wants first. To try to see if this is anxiety (or even if it is Adrenal fatigue, it can still cause anxiety.) He doesn't want to prescribe any meds at this point, but I am desperate. THIS IS NOT ME. Just back in December i was confident, fearless, worry-free, ready to take on the world with a great future. Now I am the complete opposite. I even have panic attacks around people and in situations I've known and been in for years without any problems. Then again, back in December I was taking four diet/energy pills a day every day. So I was always "high." Now, I'm trying to live life without them, and I guess my body just isn't used to that. Anyways...I'm babbling now....time to go to bed! I see my doctor tomorrow. I want to mention "Adrenal Fatigue," but I'm afraid he'd look at me like I'm crazy (ironically). I'll see what happens. Thanks again and good night!


I am doing better.

Two months ago I was unable to walk without feeling faint and breathless. I couldn't even grocery shop without feeling miserably sick and faint. I had to ride around in the automatic carts at the store.

The doc has me on a very specific supplement protocol and diet. He also is having me do gentle detox, breathing exercises (which are hard for me but I'm still trying), and working to change my general outlook on life. Meditation and mindfullness have helped dramatically. I call it "treatment" just because I've made a lot of changes to lifestyle, and they've worked so far. I'm remaining patient.

If you have what I do, you HAVE to stop the caffeine. At least wean yourself slowly. I was a coffee drinker too, and I will be again someday, but not for now while I'm getting better. Over time, you'll feel less dependent on it as your body recovers, and you won't feel the need for a "pick me up." They call it adrenal FATIGUE because you're tired, and it's common to feel like you need things to keep you going throughout the day.

You could be experiencing the "detox" feeling from getting off the stimulants. Your body was used to them, and without them, it has a hard time stabilizing. Hope that makes sense.

Your doc will likely say that it doesn't exist or that he doesn't know what it is. Be prepared for that. The only reason I know it exists is because my exact bizzare symptoms match everything on Dr. Lam's page. But good luck, and never stop fighting for yourself! Goodnight!

OH MY GOD, Yes it is.

I have this from time to time when really anxious.

It's as if you can't get a full satisfying lung full and when u can't you panic .

I have this for about a week or two then it passes.

It's something that is made worse by panicking .

Well let me tell you IT DOES PASS.

Nothing to worry about.

It's annoying as it is a direct by product of anxiety.

If I can help you further let me know. It is exactly what I get from time to time.

A little thing To trick it is to yawn.

A real yawn if u can.

Your body can't help but to take a full satisfying lung full if air .


Can't believe I'm not the only one. :-)

Thank you. Yes, I do yawn. In fact, too much. And naturally. I also have really big yawns that make my ears pop as if there is a change of air pressure like going up in elevation. There are times when I feel I need to yawn, but can't. Then I panic. I hope this goes away. It has been a month now. And it seems to just be getting worse. Thank you again.


Fully relate. It almost becomes a tick. You know it's coming and you have Got to take that satisfying inhale, no matter where you are.

I yawn a hell of alot when it happens to me.

It is a real monkey on my back when I have it.

Have you noticed though if you keep your mind on something else it subsides.?

It is just anxiety / stress plain and simple.

Address that and it will subside / disappear as quick as it came.

I know what you are going through , worryingbavoutbit makes it worse. Been there done that. :-(

It will stop, trust me.

I haven't had it for a while now as I got rid of the cause and the stresses that was causing it.

No doubt I'll getnitbagain but at least I know what it is.

So no panicking.

All the best to you.

As a side, at my worst I needed to do this every 30 seconds to a minute or so,

But that was all because I was getting more anxious about it .

Anxiety breads anxiety

I know it sounds like a cliche but in this instance it was very true.

Oh and I didn't need medication for this.

Wouldn't have worked.

I have this. I had it as a kid and I also had it after every one of my 5 children were born. I am very stressed around babies and after taking care of they were around 6 months old, I started to have sighs and feeling like not getting enough oxygen. My daughter who is grown now gets the same thing. She started taking celexa an it helped

About “adrenal fatigue,” I’m not sure, but I found Dr. Lam and was sure 2 yrs ago that’s what I had. Then I found some very good info at where there’s lots of information and all 15 counselors have experienced anxiety. I started talking by phone with one of their counselors, who convinced me I did not have adrenal fatigue, but anxiety, which does fatigue your adrenals. The difference is that the symptoms come from your head ultimately. He claimed this had been basically proven through studies and if you treat adrenal fatigue symptoms with anxiety meds or cognitive therapy (what I opted for), it gets better, & that there are reasons the medical community doesn’t buy it. He said I definitely had unhealthy thinking patterns and totally fit the anxiety profile. Once I believed him, and was able to accept my debilitating symptoms as anxiety, and not fear them (which I could not have done without his help) my panic attacks gradually ceased, my energy slowly came back and I got better. Almost back to normal, but it took about a year and i’d been symptomatic for over a year before counseling. The good thing is, by doing CBT instead of taking meds, I learned coping mechanisms and how to recognize the effects of stress on my body, which will keep me from ever getting that bad off again, I hope.

Update: I just saw my doctor and got prescribed Luxapro, 10 mg= 1 tab a day for 10 days then 2 tabs a day after that. I also will start taking half a Xanax tab every night. And I need to call the Psychiatric Center of San Diego to arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist. If I can afford it. My doctor wants me to see him every 3-4 weeks while I am on the medication too. I hope it helps. I can't live like this anymore. I'll post another update after I take the med. Thanks.

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