Breath shortness is a common sign of anxiety. It is harmless and goes away when anxiety lifts. Shortness of breath makes the person feel more anxious.

They find that they have breathing or heart problems when they experience signs of anxiety. This article will tell you about the link between anxiety and breath shortness, which doctors call dyspnea.

What causes breath shortness from anxiety

Panic and anxiety are associated with fear. It leads to physiological and behavioral changes that enable the person to defend themselves again any threat.

The human brain reacts to feared situations with flight or flight responses. The heart rate is increased to pump blood to operate organs faster and make muscles ready for action.

It causes a person to breathe quickly to give more oxygen to muscles. It results in shortness of breath.

How to tell if anxiety is cause

When experiencing anxiety, it can be difficult to determine whether the symptoms are due to anxiety or another health issue. It becomes more challenging when the symptoms become severe.

Shortness of breath is one sign that people with anxiety experience, but not everyone with anxiety faces difficulty in breathing. Anxiety cause a range of psychological and physical symptoms, including

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Confusion
  • Sweating, etc

Disorders of anxiety

If a person experiences the feeling of anxiety, their doctors diagnose them with an anxiety disorder as follows as

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobia


Doctors can provide various treatment options for anxiety, like psychotherapy, medication, or a combination.


To get short-term relief from anxiety, doctors prescribe medications like clonazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, and diazepam. It provides you relief from anxiety symptoms only in 30 minutes. These medications lead to physical dependence, and withdrawal will be life-threatening.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is also beneficial to people who experience anxiety. It helps people to modify how they behave and think in different situations. During CBT, a person learns the focus of anxiety on false alarms of fear. It is the therapy that helps people to deal with conditions that cause anxiety rather than avoiding it.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is one of the effective treatment methods for anxiety. It focuses on the role of familial and interpersonal conflicts associated with anxiety symptoms. This therapy harnesses the relationships between the therapist and patient and encourages them to involve in new behaviors.

Methods that relax you from anxiety feelings

There are many relaxation methods that you can follow at home to reduce anxious feelings or improve breathing.

          Diaphragmatic breathing

People can try diaphragmatic breathing to get relief from shortness of breath or anxiety problems. To perform this relaxation method, you should try the following things.

  • Lay comfortably on a flat surface.
  • Place one hand on your diaphragm, above to stomach, or below to ribs
  • Place the other hand in the chest middle
  • Start breathing slowly by the nose, and allow your diaphragm to expand
  • You must raise your lower hand and keep the upper hand the same
  • Contract to abdominal muscles and exhale in a slow way

    Pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing helps to slow down the person's breathing and get rid of shortness of breath. If you want to perform pursed-lip breathing, you should do the

  • Stand or sit comfortably
  • Breath for 2 seconds by the nose
  • Purse your lips tightly
  • Exhale slowly by purse lips till 4 seconds
  • And repeat


Mindfulness is a wide term that covers many practices. Usually, it consists of the method of focusing attention in the state of concentration. This practice helps people to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Here is how you can easily start the mindfulness mediation

  • Stand, sit, and lie comfortably
  • Focus on the present condition, sensations, and emotions
  • Concentrate on breathing flow
  • If your breathing is shallow, breathe slowly by the nose and then exhale slowly by mouth.
  • Focus on how senses and emotions change with time

When should you contact the doctor

Anyone who experiences panic or anxiety disorders may get benefits from discussing symptoms and avail treatment from a doctor. If the problem of shortness of breath occurs frequently, then it becomes another medical condition.

  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Heart problems
  • Pulmonary disease

If the shortness of breathing problem becomes the above medical problem, then you should contact a doctor.


When people face shortness of breath due to panic or anxiety, then they feel more anxious, which worsens their breathing.