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Stress (shock) induced asthma

HI all

Well after 30 years it's finally happened, I have had my very first very clearly stress induced asthma attack.

Last night some of my neighbours decided it would be a good idea to try to start a fight with a group of drunk kids being noisy outside my house and my hubbi went out to try to calm things down. Next thing i know he's on the ground being attacked and there are 30 kids all the neighbours in the street out and punches being thrown everywhere and at everyone.

I called police and after few minutes was all being dealt with, only minor injuries hubbi was ok.

But after about 3/4 hour as the police were asking people what happened i started to feel really ill and had my first sudden asthma attack for months. I rang hubbi who came in house abandoning police officer as having been so well for months i didn't have a neb downstairs and my omron was in the car (DOH!)

Of course police followed him in as you can't just walk off mid chat took one look at me and got the paramedics who were dealing with various minor injuries.

To cut a long story short apparently because my adrenals are suppressed I had ""run out of steroids"" and the was having a asthma and shock type response to the stress and needed hydrocortisone because my body wasn't coping with the shock.

Of course this morning am fine bit chesty but feel a complete IDIOT and totally embarassed. I've never had a non allergic asthma attack before and just feel totally stupid. I would never have called an ambulance for that attack would have just quietly had my neb and carried on but didn't have any choice as they were already there!

I'm absolutely furious at my steroid dose having to go up after being so well for months and feel REALLY angry with my neighbours as i truly believe those kids are not that bad, really angry with my body for letting me down, and really stupid as i can't even remember what i incoherently rambled at the police and paramedics as had had strong pain killers and antisickness meds for my broken legs. Must have sounded completely out of my skull.

Is it normal to collapse in this fashion after a stressfull situation? I could understand it if i'd been in a car crash or something but I was only a witness to a fight! Just feel really really daft

(A very tired and wound up)


7 Replies

Stress/shock induced asthma

What an evening. I hope you are resting now.

I know just what its like to have fighting outside the house - it happened to us last year and we live in the middle of nowhere. It was a domestic but jolly frightening at the time.

I have had one memorable stress induced asthma attack when the army came to evacuate us from our home during the 2000 floods - I live in the vale of York near the Ouse. Thankfully my husband, as calm as ever, sat with me and administered the ventolin and slowly my breathing pattern resumed some kind of normality, but I couldn't sleep despite being tired. No one left the village - we're a stubborn lot in my village and we didn't flood. My attack was no where near as bad as yours, but I can sympathise as it was very frightening at the time.

Try and rest up today as best you can and take care



It was scary just reading that until I found out your husband was ok, never mind being there! That must have been so frightening (I mean even before the asthma kicked in), particularly if you were unable to do anything but watch (a far more sensible course of action anyway, but still tough). Please don't be so hard on yourself! Personally I'd have thought it would be at least as stressful as a car crash, maybe that's just me? I can't help on the ""is the asthma normal"" bit, just wanted to reassure you that you are, as you seem to be having serious doubts!

Hope you're starting to feel a little better.


Hi Marmite,

Yes, you can have an attack after a very stressful situation! Your adrenaline keeps you going and only after when you start to relax, does the body suddenly realise it has no more support from adrenalin and things can kick off.

Glad you have recovered and hubby is OK. Even minor disturbances ( eg my neighbour flipping out completely) can trigger such a reaction - it is back to the fight or flight theory I discussed a while back about adrenaline.

I have had problems in the past with being on steroids in varying doses - doing 12 hrs of St John Duty ( usually large pop concerts!) then as I relax at the end of the shift - going off spectactularly! ( quite ironic when you get to A&E and meet up with the patients you treated 3 hrs earlier!)

You can also collapse with an 'adrenal crisis' (??) without the lungs kicking off in a very stressfull situation and need a boost eg Hydrocortisone. I think there is something about needing extra steroids on the back of the little blue steroid card.


Please don't be too angry with things - anything out of the ordinary like that can stress out your body. It is called emotional stress and we can't always control it like we would like to. I have had similar sometimes in the middle of the night when the neighbour kicks off. I feel cold and very shakey - classic sighns of shock though only once or twice has it severely upset my asthma.

Anyway, please take care and have a relaxing w/e

Love & hugs


PS I assume it is half term where you are? Perhap the cold snap this w/e will cool things !


Hi all

Thanks for replies am feeling lot more rational now have had some sleep! Police came round and took more details yesterday as they had the main culprits in custody and there was no trouble last night. Unfortunately my nice stable lungs are now protesting and having needed not even a puff of ventolin since December ish I'm now back to half my normal peak flow but at least now I know my lungs can be well behaved so i have told them they will cooperate or am going get them locked up!

I suppose the good thing to come out of all this is all the neighbours are talking to each other, nothing like a drama to get people out of their houses and form a bit of community spirit apparently. Even the old dear next door said people have been knocking on her door all day yesterday just to make sure she was ok so there is an up side!



Marmite, I'm so sorry that you and your hubby have had to go through all of this, thinking of you. Please don't feel daft or stupid - what you went through in terms of your asthma is a normal physiological reaction, you might as well feel stupid for going to sleep at night or digesting your food!

I'm glad things are a bit more settled now, hope the asthma side of things settles quickly too.

Take care, thinking of you

Em H


Hiya there,

Hope you're feeling a bit better. I had a bit of a ""stress induced"" attack on Friday. Dropped my parents off at the pub and as I pulled out a collided with another car, neither of us were going very fast and nobody was hurt, I got out and swapped my details with the other driver etc. Drove home (despite my mum telling me not to) got in ok as it was only a 5-10 min drive, watched some telly and everything was fine. Got into my jim jams and just suddenly started to go off out of blue, had to ring my boyfriend to come over as my parents were obviously drinking and would have to wait for a taxi etc so i knew my b/f would get over more quickly. Then my parents came home and I've been a bit wheezy since, although I have picked up a cold since coming back to uni as everyone brings all different bugs and germs back lol so its probably a mixture of the car incident and the cold.

I'm not even on steroids and have never ever taken them long term so my adrenal glands function completely normally and it still happened to me, so dont beat yourself up about it. Just concentrate on getting back to how you were now, these things happen and its not your fault.

Take care and get plenty of rest

Claire xx


Thanks for all concern and replies

Just a quick update. Police have charged various people with violent disorder?? and assault and it's all actually going to make it to court amazingly.

I can now see funny side as my road along with two others have been granted a dispersal order which from what i understand means if my three children ( more than group of 2) are making noise in the front garden (antisocial behaviour) after 9pm (under 16 yr old curfew) the police can order them in, (and ban their friends from out of the area for 24hours) or take them away to the station until a responsible person collects them (no hope there i'm afraid) all of which means my kids have all put themselves to bed at 7 each night in case they get arrested! Hilarious there is an upside to everything I'm such an evil mum.....


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