is it just an anxiety disorder?

My friend suggested that I have anxiety disorder, which is causing my asthma flares. I do panic quite a bit when exams are nearing (and I'm nowhere finished studying!!) but at other times not really. I don't have insomnia though. I don't know much about it and I don't know if maybe everything's psychological. Maybe I don't have asthma in the first place? But something must be causing my wheezing, right? Or is that psychological too? I read somewhere that asthmatics have a higher chance of getting anxiety disorders as they are constantly anxious and worried about when their next attack will be. I don't have this problem though.

What should I do?

7 Replies

  • go and talk to your gp i would suggest. I know asthma medication can make you more jumpy and anxious because it makes you shaky. I am more jumpy when i needed lots of reliever


  • Asthma especially atopic or allergic asthma is a physical response to an allergen in your airway. This is not anxiety.

    But does anxiety or stress trigger asthma? Well for me it certainly does and long term chronic asthma causes depression and anxiety but it was not the cause of my asthma to begin with.

    Your friend sounds like she is talking out of her bottom TBH. She may be helping but If i hear another ""what you need to do is X Y Z"" I swear I will go insane.

    Just ignore it. Sometimes people's help does more harm than good.

  • Hey,

    Thanks for your replies!!

    Yea plumie I do get shakie from all the inhalers and tachycardiac too! Especially when I get a particularly bad bout and end up using my ventolin incessantly. I guess I'll go to my gp only when I really have to. (:

    wss, yup I was thinking along the lines of not being able to breathe properly which is why I get anxious, and not the other way around! I mean, if you can't breathe, how can you not get anxious right? My friend is a controlled/intermittent (only needing to use ventolin once a year or so) asthmatic so I guess she doesn't really understand how uncontrolled asthmatics feel. For a while there I really did question myself on whether I really had anxiety disorder! Though I won't push this aside complete as it could be a very tiny possible link, I'll look to it again if there's a need to.

    Thanks again!


  • anxiety and hyperventilation

    Anxiety is definitely affected by hyperventilation even hidden levels of hyperventilation. As your breathing increases your pulse increases. As we experience stress our breathing rate increases. As our breathing rate increases (usually subconsciously) our stress increases. By controlling our breathing we can control our stress. I use the buteyko method to achieve far greater control of my breathing that i ever had in my life. Even when fully medically controlled, i was not controlling it myself which i now know how to do at any time. I am also aware that my breathing at night (when i am asleep and cannot control it) reflects my breathing habit during the day. This is why using buteyko, the CP measured first thing in the morning is the most accurate measure of your breathing control. When it is raised above 20 secs the symptoms start to dissappear (at the current level of medication) and over 40secs consistently for 6 months then you should not have any symptoms (this is difficult to achieve and requires alot of work).

    With anxiety, if you become aware of your breathing and start to calm it then you can reduce the spiralling effect of anxiety. There is a specific technique. Another good way to get rid of it is to do physical exercise (while breathing the correct way).

    Pat McKeown has a new book out (he wrote a few buteyko books- one called close your mouth) dealing with anxiety and your breathing.....its called ""anxiety free: Stop worrying and quieten your mind"". There are several other books with a similar theme relating to anxiety on the web.

  • On a non-medical approach, perhaps it might be helpful for you to go to some yoga or meditation classes. I used to go to yoga weekly and found it really helpful. Nowadays I do some of the poses and breathing exercised at home to help and have trained my body to recognise the feel of a particular mudra as triggering a calmer state because I use it in meditation.

    Nonetheless, it would be worthwhile mentioning it to your GP or practice nurse as if there is a way of getting the anxiety side better controlled it will have a positive effect on your asthma too. I know I always feel lousy asthma-wise when I'm worried or anxious as it triggers my asthma symptoms.

    Even if it isn't anxiety, it's best to eliminate a possibility, isn't it?

  • My asthma gets worse when my anxiety gets bad. I went to a therapist and it really helped, he has taught me how to meditate when I do get stressed.

  • hey guys! thanks for all your suggestions. (: i think i would consider doing some yoga/meditation classes after my exams are over so i can learn to cope with stress better!! and hopefully my flares will be fewer.

    rach87: what kind of techniques do u use to calm down? i know deep breathing doesn't work for me because my mind is constantly so active it is of no use at all!!

    wheezymutt: yep i might consult my gp as to how to better manage my anxiety. (: thanks.

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