Can Anxiety Cause Shortness of Breath?

Can Anxiety Cause Shortness of Breath?

In the whirlwind of our fast-paced lives, anxiety and stress have become familiar faces. And one of their go-to companions? Shortness of breath. It’s like this unwelcome guest that knocks on our door when stress takes center stage. This blog is your guide through the maze of anxiety and breathlessness, separating the complexities, and shedding light on what can anxiety cause shortness of breath.

Anxiety and Shortness of Breath

Can anxiety cause shortness of breath? Absolutely. Shortness of breath is like anxiety’s calling card. When anxiety steps onto the scene, it sets off a whole symphony of changes in your body – heart racing, breath speeding up – and suddenly, you find yourself catching your breath. It’s a rollercoaster that many of us are reluctantly familiar with.

Imagine this, you’re caught in the swirl of life, and suddenly, your breath feels like it’s playing hide and seek. That’s anxiety’s way of making an entrance. It’s not just in your mind; it’s a physical response. Your heart starts racing, and your breath quickens, leaving you feeling short of breath. It’s a puzzling symptom, but in the world of anxiety, it’s a common player.

Anxiety-Breathlessness Connection

So, what’s the deal with anxiety and shortness of breath? It’s like a dance – anxiety takes the lead, and your breath follows. The body responds with a faster heart rate and speedy breaths, creating that unmistakable feeling of being breathless. Understanding this connection is the first step in untangling the mystery.

The Physiological Side 

Anxiety isn’t just a mind game; it’s a full-body experience. When anxiety knocks, your body answers with increased heartbeats and rapid breathing. It’s a chain reaction, and shortness of breath and panic disorder is often the result. Knowing that it’s not just in your head but a physiological response can make the experience a bit less perplexing.

Recognizing the Signs: Shortness of Breath Anxiety

Individuals experiencing anxiety-induced shortness of breath may feel like they can’t breathe adequately, despite having no apparent respiratory issues. This heightened awareness of breathing can further exacerbate the feeling of breathlessness.

How to Tell If Shortness of Breath Is from Anxiety?

  1. Gradual Onset: Anxiety-related shortness of breath often develops gradually, in contrast to sudden, severe breathing difficulties.
  2. Contextual Triggers: Pay attention to whether shortness of breath occurs in specific anxiety-inducing situations such as specific phobia,acute stress or adjustment disorders.
  3. Accompanying Symptoms: Anxiety-related shortness of breath is usually accompanied by other anxiety symptoms, such as increased heart rate, restlessness, and muscle tension.

Read More: The Role of Professional Anxiety Treatment Centers in Mental Health

Why Do I Feel a Constant Need to Take a Deep Breath Anxiety? 

In anxiety, the body’s fight-or-flight response is activated, leading to a perceived need for more oxygen. This can result in a persistent urge to take deep breaths, even when unnecessary.

Addressing Common Concerns

Can anxiety cause shortness of breath? Stress, closely linked to anxiety, can indeed cause shortness of breath. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and mindfulness can be beneficial in alleviating this symptom.

How to Tell If Shortness of Breath Is from Anxiety or Heart Problems? 

To know the answer to this question it is very important to consult a healthcare professional to rule out potential heart-related issues. However, anxiety-induced shortness of breath is often associated with a sense of impending doom or fear. On the other hand, heart-related symptoms may manifest as chest pain or pressure.

Managing Anxiety-Induced Breathing Issues: 

Can anxiety make it hard to breathe? Yes, anxiety can make it hard to breathe, but adopting coping strategies can significantly improve the situation.

  1. Deep Breathing Exercises: Practice deep, diaphragmatic breathing to counteract rapid, shallow breaths.
  2. Mindfulness and Meditation: Techniques that promote mindfulness can help regulate breathing patterns and reduce anxiety.
  3. Physical Activity: Regular exercise can contribute to overall anxiety reduction and improve respiratory function.

Can Anxiety Cause Wheezing? 

While wheezing is more commonly associated with respiratory issues, extreme anxiety can sometimes lead to constriction of airways, causing a wheezing-like sound.

Cold Feeling in Chest Anxiety

Some individuals may experience a cold sensation in the chest during anxiety. This is a result of the body’s response to stress, causing blood vessels to constrict.

Special Considerations

Shortness of Breath Before Period: Hormonal fluctuations before menstruation can contribute to heightened anxiety and shortness of breath in some individuals. Monitoring these symptoms across the menstrual cycle can provide insights.

Disentanglement of the Mind-Body Connection

It is very important to understand the impacts of anxiety on the body in comprehending the link between anxiety and shortness of breath. The mind-body connection is intricate, and anxiety can manifest physically, leading to a range of symptoms, including the feeling of breathlessness.

Can’t Get a Satisfying Breath Treatment

Individuals experiencing anxiety-related breathing difficulties often report feeling unable to get a satisfying breath. This sensation is linked to hyperventilation, a common occurrence in anxiety, where rapid breathing disrupts the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Techniques like pursed-lip breathing can be effective in restoring this balance.

Can Anxiety Cause Low Oxygen Levels? 

While anxiety itself does not usually cause low oxygen levels, the hyperventilation associated with anxiety can temporarily alter blood gas levels. It’s crucial to differentiate between perceived and actual oxygen levels. If concerned, consulting with a healthcare professional can provide clarity.

Can Anxiety Make You Feel Cold?

Anxiety can trigger various physiological responses, including vasoconstriction, which may make individuals feel cold. Understanding these environmental influences on anxiety can aid in developing coping mechanisms, such as maintaining a comfortable temperature and dressing appropriately.

Shortness of Breath and Headache

In some cases, anxiety-induced shortness of breath may be accompanied by headaches. This dual manifestation can be distressing but is often a result of heightened physiological arousal. Managing overall anxiety levels through relaxation techniques can help alleviate both symptoms.

Comprehensive Approach to Anxiety-Related Symptoms

Anxiety Breathing Problems: Beyond shortness of breath, anxiety can manifest in various breathing problems. Individuals may experience rapid breathing, shallow breaths, or a feeling of breath-catching. Acknowledging and addressing these specific breathing patterns is integral to managing overall anxiety.

Read More: Understanding the Dynamics of Depression Weight Loss

Strategies for Taking a Breath: Managing Anxiety in a Holistic Way

Feeling like you can’t breathe? you’re not alone: Yes, anxiety can make it feel like you can’t catch your breath. It’s a tough experience, but the good news is that there are holistic approaches that can make a real difference. Let’s explore some strategies you can weave into your daily life to help you breathe a bit easier.

Unraveling Thoughts with CBT

Ever feel trapped in negative thought loops? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is like a helpful guide, showing you how to identify and change those unhelpful thoughts. It’s not about changing who you are but reshaping how you see things, ultimately easing that tight feeling in your chest.

Lifestyle Tweaks for a Breath of Fresh Air

Your lifestyle plays a big role in how you feel, including your ability to take a satisfying breath. Small changes like keeping a balanced diet, moving your body through regular exercise, and getting enough quality sleep can have a surprisingly positive impact on your mental well-being.

Breathing Easier with Social Support

We all need someone to lean on, especially when anxiety creeps in. Building a support system with friends, family, or a mental health professional can make a world of difference. Talking about what’s on your mind can lighten the load and remind you that you’re not facing it all alone.

Mind-Body Practices for a Relaxing Breath

Ever tried yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation? These practices aren’t just for Zen masters; they’re for anyone looking to enhance self-awareness and find moments of peace. They can be your go-to tools for restoring calm when anxiety makes it hard to catch your breath.


We’ve come to the end of the discussion can anxiety cause shortness of breath? Shortness of breath during anxious moments is like a puzzle with pieces from both your mind and body. It’s influenced by thoughts, feelings, and even the environment around you. Recognizing the interplay between mental health and respiratory sensations is crucial in effectively addressing and managing anxiety-induced breathing issues. By understanding the signs, seeking appropriate guidance, and adopting coping strategies, individuals can breathe easier on their journey to mental well-being.

Remember, seeking help is a strength, not a weakness. Professional guidance from Renewed Mental Health Group ensures you have the support you need for your mental and physical well-being. You’re not alone on this journey, and there are people ready to help you take each breath with a little more ease.

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DR. Barrios

Board-Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Dr. Carlos Barrios is a Board-Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with over two decades of experience in mental health care. His expertise in telepsychiatry has allowed him to serve patients across California and beyond. In his practice, Dr Barrios integrates metabolic and functional methodologies, focusing on guiding patients toward medication independence and emphasizing the connection between physical and mental health.

Outside of his professional life, Dr Barrios is passionate about kettlebell training, which helps him maintain my physical and mental wellness. He cherishes visiting his family in Guatemala, to reconnecting with his cultural roots and rejuvenating his spirit. Dr Barrios is also deeply involved in transcendental meditation and rucking, practices that not only provide him with tranquility but also keep him grounded and connected to nature. These hobbies reflect his commitment to a holistic approach to health, both personally and professionally.

Keelan Aponte

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Keelan Aponte is a dedicated Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Renewed Mental Health Group, under the supervision of Carly Rorem, LMFT #119474. With a solid foundation in psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University, Keelan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his practice.

His clinical journey has seen him working directly with children, young adults, and families, offering support to individuals facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Keelan’s experience spans diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, religious affiliations, cultural identities, genders, and sexual orientations, reflecting his deep appreciation for the uniqueness of each individual.

Keelan is committed to fostering cultural competence in his therapeutic approach, ensuring that every client feels heard and respected. He creates a nurturing environment where clients can freely express their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment, recognizing the importance of validating personal experiences.

While proficient in various therapeutic modalities, Keelan’s passion lies in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), which resonates deeply with his personal philosophy. He believes in the inherent potential for change within each individual and focuses on exploring the meanings we attach to our thoughts, behaviors, and experiences. By shifting the focus towards solutions and empowering clients to discover their own strengths, Keelan facilitates the creation of new, positive patterns in their lives.

In collaboration with his clients, Keelan embarks on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, guiding them towards a brighter, more fulfilling future. He firmly believes that every individual possesses the resilience and inner wisdom to overcome life’s challenges, drawing strength from past triumphs and embracing the possibility of new beginnings.

Mark Youssef

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Hi there! I am so glad you are here. I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Renewed Mental Health Group
(AMFT# 142301) under the supervision of Carly Rorem, Licensed Marriage, and Family Therapist (119474). I received my Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University. 

In my spare time, I enjoy doing outdoor activities like going to the beach, snorkeling, watching sunsets, and capturing moments through photography. I also cherish moments spent with loved ones and enjoy exploring new coffee shops.

In therapy, we often uncover wounds that haven’t fully healed. As these wounds resurface, therapy begins the gradual process of healing. Your bravery in seeking help is commendable, and I’m honored to support you on this journey. Together, we’ll navigate the complexities you face, uncovering insights along the way. You will be met here with compassion and support. I will walk alongside your journey with warmth and acceptance.

My passion lies in working and being committed to creating a safe space for diverse individuals: including teens and their families, adults, LGBTQ + individuals and clients of all backgrounds and identities who are facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, family conflicts, self-esteem issues, PTSD, OCD, OCPD, and ADHD. 

I typically approach my clients as a person-centered therapist through an attachment lens, providing unconditional positive regard, empathy, and compassion within a safe and nonjudgmental space. Maintaining authenticity and humanity in my interactions with my clients is key, as I strive to provide a secure emotional connection. Alongside this, I incorporate various therapeutic modalities, drawing from different clinical approaches such as CBT, humanistic therapies, SFT, and psychodynamic approaches to meet each individual’s needs. 

I am fluent in English and Arabic, facilitating effective communication with clients of diverse linguistics background, and possess experience in working with individuals aged 17 and above. 

I would be honored to accompany you through your emotional pain, help you navigate your thoughts, and support you in healing that pain. I will be here with you and for you on your journey towards self-acceptance and growth, collaboratively working together towards your personal goals. My objective? Empower you to live authentically. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together!

Nalleli Garrido

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP

Nalleli Garrido, PMHNP-BC is a Board Certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Nalleli graduated from California State University, Long Beach. Nalleli has over 7+ years of experience working with underserved communities with diverse mental health diagnoses. She loves to navigate new hobbies first hand in order to ensure patients gain meaningful coping skills. Her priority is to help patients take control of their mental health through patient education, psychotherapy and medication management.

Nalleli Garrido has experience working with various populations across the lifespan and her areas of focus include: Depression, Anxiety, Adjustment Disorder, Bipolar disorder, ADHD, and PTSD. Nalleli has experience working with incarcerated patients at several county jails, various acute and in-patient settings, and community mental health services.

Patients enjoy Nalleli’s empathetic care and her focus on identifying self-care measures to assist in therapeutic regimens. She strives to develop individualized care plans alongside client’s desired

Carly Rorem

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Carly Rorem is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Renewed Mental Health Group. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2015 from Biola University. She returned and received her Master of Art in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hope International University in 2017.

You may be navigating the complex terrain of depression, anxiety, or trauma, facing significant life changes, or seeking enhancement in your relationships. They seek a nonjudgmental, supportive partner in their therapeutic journey who passionately believes in their capacity for change and healing. Together, we’ll strive for resilience, understanding, and a path forward tailored to their unique goals and needs.

As a marriage and family therapist, I offer guidance to strengthen relationships, providing a nonjudgmental, supportive space for healing and connection. I am dedicated to supporting your grown with a nonjudgmental, empathetic approach. Let’s navigate your challenges together in a safe and supportive space.

Brittlin Fagundes

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Brittlin Fagundes is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Renewed Mental Health Group. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University. Brittlin then returned to her hometown of San Diego, California, where she received her Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University.

In her spare time, Brittlin enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family and friends, playing and watching sports, and listening to music. Brittlin finds these activities very therapeutic, as they allow her to clear her mind and reflect and provide her pure happiness. Brittlin works with her clients to find their hobbies and interests, which can be great coping and grounding skills for needy individuals.

Brittlin has experience with various ages and populations- children, adolescents, adults and elderly, groups, LGBTQ+ individuals and families of all different socioeconomic statuses. In addition, Brittlin has worked with various diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, addiction, Bipolar Disorder, schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Brittlin takes pride in her ability to have a personable relationship with her clients, as she finds it vital for them to feel comfortable in her presence.

Brittlin understands that everyone carries a unique story with extraordinary hardships and stressors. She is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment where her clients can overcome obstacles and work toward positive change. Brittlin believes therapy should be a collaborative process that fosters personal growth and healing. Overall, Brittlin strives to use various therapeutic techniques to empower her clients to overcome their obstacles, working towards self- discovery.

Carissa Mendez-Munder

Associate Clinical Social Worker

Carissa Mendez-Munder is a Mental Health Therapist at Renewed mental Health group. Carissa is a Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Carissa graduated with her master’s in clinical social work from Baylor University.

Carissa’s education and work experience have allowed her to work with a diverse clientele ranging from 4 to 100 years old and across all economic and cultural backgrounds. Carissa has offered individual, group, and family counseling in both English and Spanish for these diverse caseloads. Carissa has provided counseling, emotional and communication skills groups, and grief and anger management groups at the elementary, middle, and high school ages. Carissa works most commonly with diagnoses of Anxiety, Depression, Anger management, life-stage struggles, adjustment disorders, ADHD, family conflict (including non-traditional family arrangements, LGBTQIA+ youth), prolonged grief, and PTSD.

Carissa’s experience has given her more perspective on how external influences, systems, and traumatic experiences in a person’s life can affect their overall health and well-being. Carissa works with her clients using a strengths-based perspective and person-centered approaches to counseling to sharpen tools, skills, and any other client strengths. Carissa works to create a “toolkit” with her clients to better work with these external influences. Carissa believes that every person can change and has the tools to do so. Her role as a therapist is to draw attention to these tools and strengths and help the client find their motivations. Carissa believes in a person’s inherent worth and dignity and their right to live a fulfilling life. Carissa takes pride in seeing her clients achieve their therapy goals and grow their confidence and self-determination. Carissa offers a safe space for her clients for in-person or telehealth sessions and is currently accepting new patients.

Taryn A. Joyce


Taryn is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner with 6+ years of experience in mental health care. Taryn earned her Masters’ of Science in Nursing degree from California State University, Long Beach. Taryn specializes in ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression/mood disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD, and personality disorders. Taryn utilizes a patient-centered approach emphasizing collaboration and empowerment, ensuring each individual receives personalized care tailored to their unique needs.

Taryn has years of experience in inpatient and outpatient mental health settings, most recently in the community mental health setting, serving clients from various backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. As a committed advocate, Taryn brings a blend of expertise in psychiatric nursing, evidence-based interventions, and a compassionate approach to foster positive outcomes. Taryn looks forward to partnering with you on your journey to mental wellness.

Alice Kim


Alice Kim is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Alice has many years of experience in psychiatry in acute inpatient and outpatient settings.

She believes that mental health is essential but is often a forgotten or invisible part of healthcare.She wants to be an advocate and caregiver for the vulnerable population in a compassionate, empathetic, and nonjudgmental approach.

Alice has made it her life’s passion to utilize her skills to help others aware of their illness and offer patients and their families quality care, support, and guidance during a time of difficulty.

Alice Kim 은 이사회 인증을 받은 정신과 정신 건강 간호사 실무자입니다.

앨리스는 급성기 입원환자 및 외래에서 수년간 정신과에서 근무한 경험이 있다.

그녀는 정신 건강은 필수적이지만, 종종 의료에서 잊혀지거나 보이지 않는 부분이라고 믿는다. 그녀는 연민적이고, 공감적이며, 비판적이지 않은 접근으로 취약한 사람들을 옹호하고 돌보는 사람이 되기를 원한다. Alice는 자신의 기술을 활용하여 다른 사람들이 자신의 질병을 인지하도록 돕고, 환자와 가족의 간병, 지원 및 어려운 시기에 안내를 제공하는 것을 자신의 삶의 열정으로 삼았습니다.

Alice는 2개 국어를 구사하며 한국어에 능통하기 때문에 한국어로 말하는 환자에게 도움이 될 수 있는데, 이는 혼란을 없애고 환자 만족을 제공하며 양질의 의료 서비스를 제공하는 데 도움이 되기 때문입니다.

Cristian Cuevas


Cristian Cuevas, PMHNP-BC, is a highly skilled board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with over seven years of experience in inpatient psychiatry and mental health.

A California State University Long Beach graduate, Cristian also earned recognition as a board-certified psychiatric mental health registered nurse. With a wealth of expertise in adult psychiatric care across the lifespan, Cristian has successfully diagnosed and treated a diverse range of mental health disorders.

Additionally, his specialized experience in child and adolescent inpatient populations further enhances his ability to provide comprehensive and compassionate mental health care.