Shortness of breath adult lack of air

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Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, shortness of breath is an unpleasant and dangerous symptom that can indicate serious illness. What to do when there is not enough air while breathing? We will analyze the treatment with medications and the rules that everyone should follow.

Frequent shortness of breath and lack of air indicates the development of diseases

Inhalation insufficiency, or shortness of breath, can occur not only as a result of pulmonary diseases and problems in the respiratory tract. It can occur due to high physical activity, after eating, with stress and psychosomatic disorders, during pregnancy and with diseases of various systems of the human body.

Common causes of dyspnea include the following:

  1. Improper lifestyle: smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight.
  2. Stress and emotional upheaval.
  3. Poor ventilation in the room.
  4. Diseases of various genesis.
  5. Chest injuries: bruises, broken ribs.

Conventionally, all these causes can be divided into normal and pathological.

Excess weight adversely affects human health

Difficulty breathing occurs as a result of diseases of the lungs and heart, and also testifies to psychosomatic diseases, anemia and problems with the spine.

Bronchial asthmaWith this disease, obstructive respiratory failure occurs: during an attack, the airways narrow strongly, so the air becomes smaller during inspiration.
Pleurisy of the lungsThis disease is characterized by fever and restrictive, or restrictive, respiratory failure. The volume of the lungs decreases because they cannot completely straighten out while breathing. This leads to a lack of oxygen.
Heart failureIf the heart does not supply enough blood to the organs, pulmonary edema occurs: fluid accumulates in them, and impaired gas exchange leads to shortness of breath. Orthopnea may also occur – shortness of breath in a horizontal position. A person cannot rest at night, lying on his back – he has to sleep while sitting.
HypertensionA sharp increase in pressure provokes an overload of the heart muscle. This disrupts the function of the heart, reduces the flow of blood to the organs and causes respiratory failure. There is also discomfort and heaviness in the heart.
AnemiaHemoglobin is responsible for the transfer of oxygen to tissues, so when its level in the blood decreases, there is not enough oxygen. Most of all, this symptom manifests itself after physical activity, when the blood does not have time to deliver the right amount of oxygen to the body.
LaryngitisIn an adult, this inflammatory disease can be characterized by sore throat, hoarseness or loss of voice, severe cough. A child with laryngitis often has swelling of the vocal cords, and threatening the child with shortness of breath and suffocation.
VVD (vegetovascular dystonia)The hyperventilation syndrome observed during VSD occurs as a result of stress, emotional and physical overload, as well as hormonal disruptions. With hyperventilation, the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood decreases, which leads to a slowdown in the transfer of oxygen to the tissue. There is a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.
DiabetesWhen small vessels are affected, oxygen ceases to enter the organs in sufficient quantities, and oxygen starvation occurs. Also, the cause may be in diabetic nephropathy: this is a kidney damage that provokes anemia.
ThyrotoxicosisWith thyrotoxicosis, thyroid hormones are produced in an enhanced mode, which leads to an acceleration of metabolism in the body. To carry them out, oxygen is required, and its previous amount becomes insufficient.
Thoracic and cervicothoracic osteochondrosisWhen the space between the vertebrae becomes smaller, the pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots increases. With osteochondrosis of the thoracic vertebrae, the work of organs in the chest can be disrupted. This leads to shortness of breath.
Chest injuriesThe feeling that there is nothing to breathe can occur as a result of severe chest pain caused by a broken or bruised chest. Taking painkillers neutralizes shortness of breath of this type.
AllergyShortness of breath with allergies occurs due to the ingestion of an allergen: a substance that provokes the production of antibodies. This causes swelling of the mucous membrane and expirational breathing difficulties – the person is cramped and it is difficult for him to breathe out air.

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Other factors

The cause of shortness of breath may not only be in diseases. Some factors of its appearance are referred to as “normal”: they are caused not by diseases, but by a lifestyle, physiological characteristics of the body, and emotional state.

Shortness of breath can occur as a result of the following factors:

  1. During physical activity: muscles begin to require more oxygen, and as a result, a person can not take a deep breath. This goes away in a few minutes and occurs only in people who are not involved in sports on an ongoing basis.
  2. After eating: there is a blood flow to the organs of the digestive tract, so the oxygen supply to other organs is temporarily reduced. Shortness of breath occurs as a result of overeating or in some chronic diseases.
  3. During pregnancy: shortness of breath occurs in the third trimester, when the uterus, with an increase in the fetus, stretches and rises to the diaphragm. The degree of dyspnea depends on the weight of the fetus and the physiological characteristics of a particular woman.
  4. In obesity: due to visceral fat enveloping the lungs, the air volume in them decreases. At the same time, when overweight, the heart and other internal organs work in an enhanced mode, so they need more oxygen. As a result, it is difficult for a person to breathe, especially after exertion.
  5. When smoking: the human body suffers due to this addiction, primarily the lungs are hit. Particularly strong “shortness of breath” becomes noticeable during physical exertion.
  6. When drinking alcohol: it affects the cardiovascular system of the body, increasing the risk of heart disease. Most of these diseases lead to shortness of breath.
  7. Under stress: emotional upheaval and panic attacks are accompanied by the release of adrenaline into the blood. After this, the tissues begin to require more oxygen, and its lack leads to shortness of breath.
  8. In case of poor ventilation: in a room that is poorly ventilated, a large amount of carbon dioxide accumulates. At the same time, oxygen does not enter it, therefore shortness of breath and frequent yawning occur, signaling brain hypoxia.

Dyspnea often appears during pregnancy.

With intermittent breathing, it is first necessary to consult a therapist. He will conduct an examination, take the necessary tests, conduct hardware studies.

Pulmonologist deals with pulmonary diseases

At home, to understand which of these specialists need to be addressed will not work. Symptoms of many diseases that provoke dyspnea are very similar to each other.


To understand why the patient is holding his breath, the therapist performs diagnostic procedures.

Research methods for bad breath:

  1. Inspection and questioning of the patient.
  2. Testing: general blood test, blood for hormones, urine.
  3. Hardware research: ultrasound, X-ray, CT, ECG, spirometry.
  4. Identification of the reason, sending to a specialist with a narrow profile.

Spirometry is used to identify the causes of poor breathing.

To determine the cause of shortness of breath, not all of these methods are used: after interviewing the patient and a complete examination, the doctor may exclude the diagnoses. The final list of hardware research and analysis will be reduced.

The treatment for shortness of breath depends on the cause of this phenomenon. If problems with inspiration arise due to cardiovascular diseases, drugs are prescribed that improve metabolic processes and the work of the heart muscle.

When it is difficult to breathe with inflammatory pulmonary diseases, antibacterial and mucolytic drugs are prescribed.

If the cause of the pressure in the sternum is nerves, a person is given psychological counseling to help get rid of stress and a suppressed emotional state.


With a lack of air, which is a consequence of the disease, various groups of drugs are used.

Group of drugsWhat diseases is usedFamous examples
AntihistaminesUrgent therapy for allergic reactions of the bodyClaritin, Fenistil, Citrine, Diphenhydramine
Inhaled glucocorticoidsBronchial asthmaFluticasone, Flunisolid
AntibioticsInflammatory diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systemsBiseptolum, Erythromycin, Amoxiclav
Mucolytic drugsInflammatory lung diseaseAmbroxol, Lazolvan, Bromhexine
VasodilatorsCoronary heart disease, angina pectoris, heart attackMolsidomin, Apressin
AntiarrhythmicsExtrasystole, atrial fibrillation, tachycardiaQuinidine, Propranolol, Verapamil
DiureticsArterial hypertension, CNK, VVDFurosemide, Diacarb
Nootropic drugsVegetosovascular dystoniaPhenibut, Piracetam
SedativesStressful conditions, panic attacks, cardiac pathologies, VVDNovo-Passit, Persen, Glycine, Valoserdin, Corvalol

General recommendations

To exclude the appearance of shortness of breath in the future, as well as get rid of existing breathing problems of a normal type, you should adhere to these recommendations.

  1. More often to be in the fresh air, to walk.
  2. Perform therapeutic exercises, move more.
  3. Do not overeat, do fasting days.
  4. Ventilate the room once a day.
  5. Revise lifestyle, eliminate bad habits.
  6. Monitor your emotional state.
  7. If unpleasant symptoms appear, consult a doctor in a timely manner.

Walking in the fresh air is good for your health.

If you constantly observe shortness of breath and lack of air while breathing, you should not take this lightly. The reason may turn out to be harmless, but it is still necessary to consult a doctor: he will establish a diagnosis and provide quick assistance, which will allow him to breathe fully again.

What to do if there is not enough air: symptoms, causes, treatment, advice.

Despite the fact that the curriculum necessarily introduced lessons that talk about the first symptoms of a deadly disease, as well as the prevention of injuries and first aid for those, even many adults do not always know what to do in a given situation to help themselves or loved ones.

Why there is not enough air when breathing – what to do?

A complex disease mechanism and clinical manifestations of the disease is vegetative-vascular dystonia. For many people, it is accompanied by a feeling of lack of air. The condition is so scary for a person that he is forced to urgently seek medical help. You can cope with the disorder if timely appropriate measures are taken.

The control of respiratory activity in the human body is carried out not only by the brain, but also by the parasympathetic nervous system. There is no need for a person to think how many movements per minute his lungs should make, so that oxygen molecules with air in the right amount enter the tissues.

However, when a failure occurs in a well-functioning mechanism, people begin to choke — they cannot take a deep breath. A signal about this enters the brain and the mechanism of “emergency” self-help is triggered, which is not always effective. After all, the true reason for the lack of air is hidden in a psychological problem, and not in physiology.

Factors that can trigger an asthma attack:

  • after severe stress – conflict at work, in the family, divorce, death of a relative;
  • increased suggestibility – reading information about pathologies, the symptoms of which are similar to a lack of air in a particular patient;
  • Depression – immersion in the disease, confidence in near death;
  • the transfer of those signs of asthma, bronchial obstruction, which a person observed in childhood with his grandparents.

The result of severe stresses will be a decrease in the amount of nutrients in the heart muscle, brain. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream increases – the body strives to correct the situation and makes the person breathe more often. A specialist explains this explanation in an accessible form already at the first consultation, when the question arises of why there is not enough air when breathing.

Symptoms of the VSD

Failure in the autonomic nervous system does not all manifest the same way. So, for the hyperventilation syndrome with VVD, the following symptoms will be characteristic:

  • sudden sensations of lack of air;
  • difficulty taking a deep breath;
  • throat spasm, perspiration, dry cough;
  • panic and fear of death;
  • the appearance of a lump in the throat, which interferes with breathing with VSD;
  • tightness in the chest – more often in its left half, less often in the epigastric zone;
  • blanching of the skin;
  • profuse cold sweat.

Along with the symptoms of lack of air, a person may appear other signs of VVD – dizziness, blurred vision, hearing at the time of the attack, jumps in blood pressure, fainting.

Hyperventilation syndrome with bronchial asthma can be differentiated by such a fact – a feeling of lack of air when inhaling, and not when exhaling. In addition, the patient has no changes with spirometry.

Symptoms of manifestations are associated with emotional shock, and not inhalation of the allergen. However, if a person has difficulty breathing, it is recommended to consult a doctor, not to engage in self-diagnosis and self-medication.

Diagnosis of the IRR

Only an experienced doctor can make a correct diagnosis in the event of a feeling of lack of air during VVD – most people are sure that they have severe respiratory distress, which requires taking special medications.

Nevertheless, a thorough collection of complaints and medical history allows the specialist to understand that there were no prerequisites for the formation of asthma or obstructive bronchitis.

After all, it becomes difficult for a person to breathe precisely at the peak of negative emotions – anger, stress, emotional upheaval.

Relief comes after taking sedative drops – for example, Corvalol, and not from the use of an inhaled bronchodilator medication.

In the case of VVD, shortness of breath in a person does not increase with accelerated stride, while panic and fear of dying makes the situation worse. Instrumental laboratory examinations provide assistance in the differential diagnosis:

  • radiography of the structures of the chest;
  • spirography – checking the exhalation rate and volume of the bronchi;
  • electromyography – a test for hidden muscle cramps;
  • blood tests – reveal a shift in the acid-base state towards alkalization.

The analysis of information in total allows one to reject other diagnoses with signs of air shortage – bronchial asthma, pulmonary sarcoidosis, bronchitis, latent pneumonia.

VVD treatment tactics

If dyspnea with VVD is episodic and quickly eliminated by performing certain psychological exercises, then there is no need for specialized treatment. While serious breathing problems due to vegetovascular dystonia require an integrated approach to therapy – consultations of a neurologist, psychotherapist.

The basis, of course, will be the use of methods of psychotherapy – awareness of the problem and the development of techniques for relaxation, control of respiratory activity. Understanding that dyspnea with VSD does not pose a threat to life is half the success.

In this case, asthma attacks with insufficient air intake will be less frequent. The primary task is to analyze life and identify those provoking factors that led to feelings of acute lack of air.

Their elimination and avoidance in the future is another 1/3 of the treatment.

Meanwhile, it is necessary to pay close attention to breathing problems during VSD, not to brush them off. After all, with the progression of pathology, they can become a source of serious complications. The specialist necessarily recommends the development of breathing techniques – deep slow breaths and long exhalations, distraction from a traumatic situation.

Of the medicines can be prescribed:

  • sedatives based on plant materials – Motherwort, Melissa, Valerian;
  • antidepressants – Paxil, amitriptyline;
  • tranquilizers – Adaptol, Afobazol, Grandaksin;
  • vegetotropic drugs – Bellaspon, platifilin;
  • means for stopping muscle excitability – Magne B6, Calcium gluconate;
  • vitamins of subgroup B – Milgamma, Neurobeks.

It is up to the doctor to select the optimal regimen for medical correction of the occurrence of breathing problems. Self-medication entails an aggravation of the disorder.

Prevention of IRR

Most diseases known to specialists can be successfully prevented – this is much simpler than later treating them. Asphyxiation with VVD is no exception – hyperventilation syndrome is given to preventive measures.

To eliminate asthma attacks during VVD, it is enough to adjust the lifestyle:

  • walk more in the fresh air – in the nearest forest park, travel out of town;
  • perform exercises of medical gymnastics;
  • avoid overeating – each “extra” kilogram increases shortness of breath;
  • give up bad habits – the consumption of tobacco and alcohol products;
  • to provide a quality night’s rest – in a well-ventilated, calm room with plenty of air;
  • control emotional state – avoid stressful, conflict situations.

Recipes of traditional medicine come to the rescue – a course of soothing decoctions and infusions that gently affect the human body, soothe excited nerve cells, restore emotional balance and full air flow to a person. However, each of these recipes should be agreed in advance with your doctor so as not to cause additional harm to the body.

Difficulties with inhaling and exhaling air in doctors is called shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is a pathology of other diseases, and always becomes apparent both to the person himself and to the people around him.

During a time when a person cannot inhale and exhale enough air, a lack of oxygen is formed in the tissues, called hypoxia. And then hypoxemia follows – a drop in the level of oxygen in the blood. If oxygen is not replenished, a lethal outcome occurs.

But for this there should be a complete lack of breathing, and in our case we consider a delay, difficulty, a feeling of lack of oxygen.

So, we consider all the reasons for which difficulty in breathing may occur:

  • Viral and other lung diseases. In the period of acute respiratory diseases, inflammations and colds, the lungs are in a state of illness, cannot fully work and provide the body with oxygen metabolism. In this case, not only a cough appears, but also shortness of breath, cutting chest pains, “grabbing” of air. In addition to the active treatment, it is necessary to dress the patient warmly and ventilate the room every half an hour for 10 minutes. In winter, for 5 minutes every 30 minutes. If there is no wind on the street, and the patient has a temperature above 37 degrees – mandatory slow walks along the street;
  • Smoking. One person smokes his whole life and does not feel discomfort, and another six months later begins to “search” for oxygen, especially when he is in a horizontal position for a long time. At first, enough ventilation, and then only exit to fresh air. As soon as there is not enough air – do not take risks, leave smoking in the past, as these are the first bells in front of cancer;
  • Problems with heart. If you do not have a cold, and even hints of it, you do not smoke and you experience periods when there is not enough air, the feeling that you are suffocating – immediately contact a cardiologist to check. It is at this stage that you can not only diagnose problems, but also prevent some heart diseases;
  • Vascular system disease. After serious illnesses, a weakening of the body, a desire to constantly sleep, as well as heavy breathing, a feeling that oxygen decreases gradually, may occur. In this case, you must consult a doctor;
  • Bronchial asthma. With complications, such a pathology arises: it is difficult to take a breath, several attempts occur in a row, after which a heavy exhalation occurs. If you have not previously discussed this with a doctor, urgently contact him;
  • Constant stress. Due to stress, many diseases arise, and one of the pathologies – nerve cells do not saturate the brain cells with oxygen. If you feel dizzy with a lack of oxygen, severe pain and migraines occur – review the entire daily routine, remove stress or learn to ignore them. If necessary, make an appointment with a doctor who will prescribe treatment;
  • Anemia in severe stages. A very deceptive disease, as it masquerades as many others. It is detected in 99% of cases only by blood analysis;
  • Chest injuries. In case of any injuries, after which the injured person has heavy breathing and desire to breathe more and more – urgent hospitalization. Even if it was a seemingly minor injury, the internal organs may have been injured;
  • Allergy. Swelling with allergic reactions is very insidious, and sometimes they can completely block the respiratory system. As soon as a person begins to sniff, take air, etc. it is necessary to give a cure for allergies and be sure to show the doctor;
  • Ingestion of a foreign object. It is especially common in children, urgent extraction is necessary, if necessary, call an ambulance;
  • Severe pregnancy. With any such symptoms – urgent hospitalization;
  • Deterioration of physical form, especially the appearance of shortness of breath when climbing to the floor. It is necessary to enter training or the condition worsens to critical consequences.

What to do

The algorithm of action for an attack of suffocation, heavy breathing depends on the cause of the pathology. But there are general rules that are recommended to follow with increasing shortness of breath:

  • First of all, you need to calm down and try to soberly assess the situation, without panic;
  • if respiratory failure is accompanied by increasing shortness of breath, chest pain, redness of the face – immediately call an ambulance;
  • pastiness of head and face tissues, swollen lips, cheeks, swollen eyes indicate Quincke’s edema;
  • pre-syncope, loss of consciousness, fogging, hypotension, vertigo, nausea, occipital cephalgia, hyperhidrosis, chills, darkness before the eyes – typical symptoms for VVD;
  • Prior to the arrival of the ambulance, ensure the minimum movement to the victim;
  • open access to fresh air;
  • take sedatives: Corvalol, motherwort, Valerian;
  • you can take other drugs only if the reason is clear, the treatment regimen was agreed earlier with the doctor (not the first attack): Suprastin, Berodual, Nitroglycerin.

After the arrival of the doctors, all actions taken must be communicated to the ambulance team. If hospitalization is proposed, it is better not to refuse it, the consequences of each attack of heavy breathing can be unpredictable.

If you find yourself in a situation in which there is frequent yawning and lack of air, do not try to panic – this will only exacerbate the problem. The first thing to do is to provide an additional flow of oxygen: open a window or window, if possible, go outside.

Try to loosen clothes that interfere with your full breath: remove your tie, unfasten your collar, corset or bra. In order not to dizzy, it is better to take a sitting or lying position. Now you need to take a very deep breath through the nose and an extended exhale through the mouth.

After several such breaths, the condition usually improves markedly. If this does not happen, and the above dangerous symptoms are added to a lack of air, call an ambulance immediately.

Prior to the arrival of health workers, do not take medications yourself if they are not prescribed by your doctor – they can distort the clinical picture and make diagnosis difficult.

The inability to make a breath “full breast” is an acute shortage of air, shortness of breath without physical exertion. The symptom is characterized by progression when the patient remembers him. If a person thinks of a syndrome, he immediately appears. It is accompanied by a sense of anxiety, fear of death, increased blood pressure.

Diagnosis of pathology

The algorithm for diagnosing respiratory failure is standard:

  • medical history, physical examination;
  • tonometry, pulsometry, measurement of respiratory rate;
  • OAC, OAM, biochemistry – screening of the general well-being of the patient;
  • ECG, echocardiography;
  • Halter
  • stress tests;
  • chest x-ray, CT, MSCT, MRI;
  • sputum analysis with culture and determination of the sensitivity of microbes to antibiotics;
  • tomogram;
  • EEG;
  • Ultrasound of the thyroid gland;
  • consultation of an ENT doctor.

This is a mandatory clinical minimum examination of each patient with dyspnea of ​​unknown origin.

Ambulance doctors usually quickly enough determine the cause of severe breathing difficulties and the need for hospitalization. If there are no serious concerns, and the attack is caused by physiological causes or severe stress and does not recur, then you can sleep soundly.

But if you suspect a heart or lung disease, it is better to undergo an examination, which may include:

  • general blood and urine analysis;
  • radiograph of the lungs;
  • electrocardiogram;
  • Ultrasound of the heart;
  • bronchoscopy;
  • computed tomogram.

What types of research are necessary in your case, the doctor will determine at the initial examination.

If lack of air and constant yawning are caused by stress, you may need to consult a psychologist or neuropathologist who will tell you how to relieve nervous tension or prescribe medications: sedatives or antidepressants.


To prevent tight breathing, you need to establish a balanced diet with enough fat. The fact is that the surfactant responsible for normal respiratory activity is a phospholipid.

In this case, the most useful foods that correct the diet are avocados, olives, seafood and sea fish, nuts – everything that contains OMEGA-3 acids.

Hypoxia is not only a trigger for respiratory disorders, it provokes heart failure, is a common cause of premature death. It is especially important to formulate your diet correctly for pregnant women, since the health of the baby depends on this.

It’s easy to take care of the respiratory system. In addition to proper nutrition, it is recommended:

  • visiting salt caves, rooms;
  • daily inflation of balloons: from 5 to 10 pieces;
  • walk more at a fast pace;
  • go to the gym;
  • run;
  • to swim;
  • get enough sleep;
  • completely abandon bad habits;
  • get rid of stressful situations (often a feeling of anger or fear provokes shortness of breath);
  • annually undergo medical examination with a measurement of the HF;
  • drink preventive courses of multivitamins and minerals;
  • timely treat colds, SARS, flu, infection.

The essence of the prevention of heavy breathing attacks is a healthy lifestyle and timely access to medical care if such a need arises.

When a patient comes to the doctor with a complaint: “I can’t breathe completely, yawn, what should I do?”, He first of all collects a detailed medical history. This eliminates the physiological causes of oxygen deficiency.

In the case of overweight, the treatment is obvious – the patient should be referred to a nutritionist. Without controlled weight loss, the problem cannot be solved.

If the results of the examination revealed acute or chronic diseases of the heart or respiratory tract, treatment is prescribed according to the protocol. It is already necessary to take medications and, possibly, physiotherapeutic procedures.

A good prevention and even a treatment is breathing exercises. But with bronchopulmonary diseases, it can only be done with the permission of the attending physician. Improperly selected or performed exercises in this case can provoke an attack of severe coughing and worsening of the general condition.

It is very important to keep fit. Even with heart disease, there are special sets of exercises that help to recover faster and return to a normal lifestyle. Aerobic exercise is especially beneficial – they train the heart and develop the lungs.

Active games in the fresh air (badminton, tennis, basketball, etc.), cycling, walking at a fast pace, swimming – not only help get rid of shortness of breath and provide an additional flow of oxygen, but also tighten your muscles, making you slimmer. And then even high in the mountains you will feel great and enjoy the journey, and not suffer from constant shortness of breath and yawning.


  1. Doletsky A.A. , Shchekochikhin D.Yu. , Maximov M.L. The differential diagnosis of dyspnea in clinical practice // M. Breast cancer, 2014.
  2. Amao E., Val E., Michel F. Platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome // Rev. Clin. Esp. 2013.
  3. Arena R., Sietsema KE Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in the Clinical Evaluation of Patients With Heart and Lung Disease // Circulation. 2011.
  4. Toma N., Bicescu G., Dragoi R. et al. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing in differential diagnosis of dyspnea // Maedica (Buchar). 2010.
  5. Banzett RB, Pedersen SH, Schwartzstein RM, Lansing RW The affective dimension of laboratory dyspnea: air hunger is more unpleasant than work / effort // Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2008.

Higher medical education. 30 years of working experience in practical medicine.

More about the author

Last Updated: November 1, 2019

General information about the disease

In psychosomatics, breathing symbolizes the ability to breathe life. In a calm state, breathing is even, but with mental stress it goes astray.

What are the prerequisites, or psychosomatics of the respiratory system:

  • negative emotions and feelings (breathing quickens);
  • prolonged excitement (the intensity of the lungs increases);
  • psycho-traumatic events (stopping, slowing of breathing);
  • uncertainty as a personality trait (frequent and intermittent breathing).

Breathing is involved in all important processes of the body: oxygen circulation, oxidation of substances, removal of carbon dioxide, maintaining optimal body temperature and maintaining water-salt balance.

Any psychological changes in breathing cause physiological disturbances. Against the background of what diseases arise.

Diseases of breathing will tell you in which area of ​​life a person has problems, what is missing for the unity of body and soul, what feelings torment, what features of character interfere.

Due to stress, a person tries to inhale as much air as possible, but muscle spasm does not allow this. As a result, shortness of breath is formed, in which the number of breaths exceeds the exhale. Breathing becomes confused and shallow.

Shortness of breath occurs against a background of stress, but the mechanism of breathing changes is different. Consider the popular causes of nerve-breathing problems.


The body prepares to run or attack, tension arises, a lot of energy is released. At the level of respiration, this is manifested by rapid breathing, a large absorption of oxygen and a large emission of carbon dioxide.

Breath hold

If you want to go unnoticed or afraid to die (often observed with concomitant pain in the heart), people resort to shallow breathing. In this case, a person thinks that reduces the load on the body, relieves stress. But the effect is reversed.

Other people prefer to relax with the help of muscle tension of the abdomen, back, chest. They believe that they reduce the burden on the heart and lungs. But again the opposite effect is obtained.

Stress causes circulatory disorders, narrows the capillaries of the nose. Spasm causes the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract to dry out. There is a cough, a feeling of nasal congestion appears.


To accurately determine the causes and characteristics of the disease, you need to undergo a full medical and psychological examination. It is necessary to take a blood test, to be examined on a tomograph, x-ray, etc. You should visit the hospital first, and after that go to the therapist.

Remember how in a situation of horror, confusion or surprise, breathlessness. Or as breathing quickens in moments of anger and slows down in fright. This is how the psychosomatics of respiratory diseases works. All the blame for chronic stress and shock.

The psychosomatics of breathing is supplemented by a burning sensation and heaviness in the legs. Sometimes there is a feeling of suffocation, muscle cramps, cramps and numbness of the hands, glaciation of the lips and the fear of death from strangulation are observed.

Bronchial asthma

With asthma, the mucous membrane of the nasopharynx swells, the nature of the discharge changes. During an attack, a person suffers from suffocation, cannot breathe. Like other respiratory problems, asthma has a psychosomatic basis. Causes of the attack: anger, anger, fear, resentment.

All emotions that we experience are reflected in the breath. Some (anger, aggression) increase excitability and increase breathing, which leads to hyperventilation of the lungs. And others slow our breathing and literally the soul of us (fear, resentment). With joy, we breathe very deeply, and with sadness or resentment we breathe superficially and often.

Not only emotions affect the nature of breathing, but also personality traits. For example, cowards breathe shallowly and often. Open people breathe deeply, inhale deeply and exhale deeply. People strangled by someone else’s care suffer from real asthma attacks. And those who are used to suppress emotions and live by someone else’s orders are afraid to even breathe on their own.

Psychogenic dyspnea is a form of neurosis that occurs in response to a real or imaginary psychotrauma. As a rule, it has no somatic grounds. An attack occurs at any time, at any position of the body. Often this type of shortness of breath is combined with hysterical, depressive and panic disorder.

Psychogenic asthma

People with asthma cannot breathe fully. The world seems complex, crushing, hostile and unstable to them. Such an attitude is formed in childhood. Reason: deficiency or excess of parental love.

All patients have a similar psychological portrait:

  • suppressed aggression;
  • constant emotional abstinence;
  • anxiety;
  • feeling of uncertainty;
  • incredulity and suspicion;
  • sexual coldness;
  • hypersensitivity to unpleasant odors;
  • fear of condemnation;
  • dependence on the opinions of others.

Patients experience a contradictory combination of the need for love, attention, care and a desire to be aggressive, to respond angrily to the intolerance of the world. It is suppressed aggression that becomes the main cause of a choking attack.

The cause of the disease is chronic stress or one severe shock. What exactly will be a traumatic event is difficult to say, but several popular psychological reasons can be identified.

Why is it hard to breathe:

  • conflicts in the family, at work, in relationships with friends;
  • death of a significant person;
  • an accident or other life-threatening situation;
  • failures and difficulties in life;
  • change of familiar conditions;
  • divorce or disorder in a relationship;
  • phobias;
  • neuroses;
  • mental disorders.

It is important! Psychosomatic illness can develop both immediately after a traumatic event, and years later. The disease that arose in adulthood can be rooted in childhood, childhood trauma.

During breathing, not only the respiratory system itself, but also other systems are included in the work. Therefore, any respiratory failure causes changes in the whole body. It adapts to fluctuations, which from the side looks like shortness of breath. There are several types of shortness of breath:

  • inspiratory: lack of air during inspiration;
  • expiratory: lack of air during exhalation;
  • mixed: lack of air on inhalation and exhalation.

Each of the violations requires medical and psychological correction.

Many people have come across a sensation of a tight lump in the throat (remember the expression “a lump in my throat”). Usually this occurs in a situation of intense excitement. What else becomes the reasons:

  • depreciation of oneself;
  • fear of failure;
  • unpleasant personal experience;
  • resentment;
  • sadness;
  • diffidence;
  • inability to express an opinion;
  • internal resistance to social norms (one’s requirements).

Sometimes, along with a coma, other unpleasant sensations occur in the throat, or instead of a coma, nervous swallowing appears. In rare cases, this is supplemented by lip tremors.

Under stress, adrenaline and cortisol are produced (stress hormones that enhance the accumulation of energy in the body). This is what causes breathing problems. What else badly affects breathing:

  • stiffness
  • forced position;
  • voltage;
  • stuffiness and poorly ventilated rooms;
  • dust;
  • environmentally polluted place;
  • despondency;
  • severe emotional shock.

Psychosomatic attacks disappear a couple of minutes after sedation. To calm down faster, you need to conduct self-massage from the top of the head to the abdomen.

If the body adjusts to respiratory failure, then how does a person know that this happened? The nervous system sends certain signals to the brain. They say something is wrong. And if the problems are purely psychological in nature, then it is still simpler: a person subconsciously suggests a problem to himself or is waiting for a repetition of a previous experience.

Respiratory neurosis in children occurs due to problems with parents, in particular, in relations with the mother. Health deteriorates in unloved children, whom mothers repel at a psychological level. Or, on the contrary, among those whom mothers “strangle” with hyper-care. Authoritarianism and suppression also have a detrimental effect. Aggression, violence, reproaches, orders make the child withdraw into himself, constantly feel a sense of fear, and wait for something bad.

Another possible reason is scandals and fights between parents, divorce. Firstly, children are scared of what they saw and heard. Secondly, they often record what happened on their own account.

In some cases, the parents themselves convince the child of this: “because of you, the father left us,” “until you were born, everything was fine with us.”

An unhealthy psychological climate, suppressed emotions and feelings do their job – the child gets sick.

How is it revealed

Neurosis can be detected only by self-observation or by contacting a specialist. You can suspect a problem yourself if you are aware of the symptoms of respiratory neurosis.

The main symptom is a change in breathing. A person takes deep, deep breaths, but still suffocates. In addition, there is:

  • constriction and heaviness in the chest;
  • desire to gain control over the situation;
  • lump in throat, feeling of air getting stuck;
  • dry, persistent cough;
  • pain in the ribs;
  • yawning;
  • attempts to change the position of the body or spread your arms so as to facilitate breathing;
  • fear of losing your life from suffocation.

In most cases, breathing problems occur in certain situations. These are difficult or unpleasant situations in life, but each person has his own idea of ​​difficulties. It all depends on the characteristics of the psyche, personal experience and level of stress resistance. Someone is worried before every exam or report at work.

The risk group includes all people, but anxious individuals with chronic illnesses and psychological traumas, fears, complexes, suppressed desires and emotions, self-rejection and dissatisfaction with life, work, family are especially vulnerable.

Due to the fact that the disease may be delayed in nature, it can be difficult to establish the exact cause and select a treatment. It is especially difficult to do it yourself.

Therefore, we recommend that you do not take risks (the older the injury, the more difficult it is to treat it), but immediately visit a psychologist. But it will not be superfluous to turn to a pulmonologist.

In the meantime, we picked up a few exercises and recommendations that will help alleviate the condition.

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Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.