Panic attacks with copd: Has anyone... - British Lung Foun...

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Panic attacks with copd

Dazbazbez profile image

Has anyone with copd had a severe panic attack, my husband came out of hospital on Saturday after retaining carbon dioxide he was fine on Sunday then later on when i went to bed he just managed to try and shout me when i got to him his lips and tongue were going blue, when they got him to hospital and settled him put him on oxygen then treated him for carbon dioxide which shallow breathing may have caused he was feeling better ,he doesn't have a infection the doctor said he doesn't know what caused it, i dread to think what would have happened if i would have been asleep i am now frightened of leaving him on his own.

12 Replies
Damon1864 profile image

I know just how he feels, I started with panic attacks after my stay in hospital last year. It's awful when you have one, but I got advice off a friend of mine who is a paramedic. He told me to take a deep breath and let it out through pursed lips slowly. It really does help. Hope your husband learns to control them soon, please let me know how he gets onand take care of yourselves 🤗 Bernadette xx

I think panic attacks are quite common amongst us breathy people. If you give the blf helpline a call they will be able to give you some advice. Pursed lip breathing realy dose help settel his breathing it would also be good to control and possibly stop the panic attacks in the first place x

its usually an attack of dyspnea that brings the panic attacks on , they are dreadful, I find to help slow the breathing down and to help focus the mind using the pursed lip breathing method helps ( like Bernadette suggested), try and get your husband to breath out twice as long as he breaths in , hopefully this will slow his breathing down and his heart , try just holding his hand or touch his shoulder to let him know your there but dont panic it can only make him worse ,I find when I have those panic attacks peace and quiet helps me regain control more quickly, i hope this helps

I am the same. I get so worked over my breathing I have anxiety and panic attacks. I have a NIV machine at home that the hospital gave me and have to wear all night and if I feel my breathing not good during the day I use again and in between use oxygen. Consultant put me on lorazepam to help calm me down

And if going out I have to take a very small dose of orimorph to help calm me down. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to cope. Have been going to a local group to learn about my breathing and how to cope with the panic attacks. I have started to calm and cope better . Through gentle breathing exercises through tai chi( sat down) and also relaxing tai chi you feel calmer and start to drift and relax. Speak to your respiratory nurse at your local surgery who should know of a loca breathing in your area (my group is called fab) without them I wouldn't feel ready to move on to pulmonary rehab for more exercise and the 6 minute walk which I have had panic attacks over. It is hard for all of you to begin with but I have more confidence still taking tablets to help. Good luck and take care. Hope all will settle soon. Sorry this so long. X

I suffer Panic Attacks and like your husband they were really bad. I have since been taught how to slow the breathing down. In slowly through nose hold then out slowly through mouth. Think of Smell the Roses, Blow out the candle. It's all in the mind and is dreadfull if you overthink a situation. I have to concentrate on my breathing at all times as it's so easy not to breathe correctly. To put your mind at rest I have been told by my Consultant you wont die from a Panic Attack although it is so frightening at the time. My Consultant prescribed Lorazapam only half a 1mg tablet when needed. I take it before I leave the house if going shopping etc and it works. I dont take it every day but it's there if needed and is only 0.5mg so isn't going to be a problem. X Sheila

It might be worth joining a singing for lung health group to learn how to control breathing and breathe using the diaphragm rather than shallow breathing from the top of the lungs. There are groups all around the UK listed on the British Lung Foundation website. If there isn't one near you, google 'diaphragm singing exercises' and find a video on You Tube that you can do in the privacy of your own home.

Anxiety/Panic attacks that affect breathing are brought on by the subconscious causing hyperventilation (breathing too quickly), in a bad case then the patient can lose consciousness, then their breathing then returns to normal. Rest easy, it will not cause death, unless they also have a serious heart condition as well. Breathing is a reflex action normally controlled by the spinal chord, but that control can be overridden by the brain, so when consciousness is lost, control reverts back to the spinal column and normal breathing patterns will resume.

Quote: "Panic disorder is a terrifying member of the anxiety group of psychological disorders. It causes panic attacks, which are feelings of imminent death or catastrophe with such overpowering dread and terror people sometimes lose consciousness due to hyperventilating. Panic attacks are themselves not dangerous. If a person passes out due to hyperventilating, their breathing will return to normal, and consciousness will resume shortly."

All above is good advise. Panic attacts are all part of COPD's rich tapestry i think. Finding something simple to distract you by concentrating on it.

Plus, Make yourself beath out fully each breath counting down from say 40 breaths.

Proffesional help as above is best. But remember you will not die from a panic attact as such (that is what I was told)

Good Luck

In 2015 I was rushed into Hospital with pnuemonia and respiratory failure after which I spent 19 days in Intensive Care and a month in hospital. I had been suffering panic attacks prior to this but since that time panic attacks started to become a major challenge. Sometimes getting into a shower or simply outside when it is very cold like today.!! GP prescribed very small controlled dose of orazepam and I have been seeing a Psychotherapist. Greater preparation in where I go and what I do and more knowledge has eased the situation and I have not had a panic attac for some months but have come close to it. Pursed lip breathing is another exercsie which has helped as this gets me back in control of my beathing and it is the loss of control whih is so frightening. It can be over come. It seems to be quite common with COPD sufferes.

I used to have panic and they were very bad, doctor put me on mirtazapine and it does help a lot but the side effects are not nice at all, biggest problem is weight gain which in no good for me, hope you get better soon

I’ve been having anxiety attacks since 2008. I feel so sorry for my wife. She’s there When it happens but not always. Mine come on for no apparent reason. I think most of it is caused in my head as I sit thinking a lot about my lung issue. I have Emphysema. My last attack happened last week. I know the cause of that one. I rushed out of bed to answer the postman and as soon as I shut the door, I noticed how much I was out of breath. I have a pulse oximeter and my sats we’re dropping fast. I sat on the bed trying to control my breathing. I turned my oxygen to max and tried to get through it. My sats dropped to 67%. I thought today is the day I leave this planet. This one lasted over an hour and took me three or four days to recover. This is one of the worst illnesses a person can have. I really wish we had a Dignitas of our own because living like this is living in hell. If I didn’t have my wife to consider I’d of gone by now. Anyway, I hope those with it are doing better than me. Night all.

Are there any alarms that your husband can wear that will go off if his sats go too low that can alert you? (I wish I knew the answer to this but I don't sorry)

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