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Is it normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack?

34 Answers
Last Updated: 04/27/2021 at 10:33am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Polly Letsch, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide non-judgmental, person-centered, objective therapeutic treatment for individuals of all ages to improve social, emotional, mental and other areas of functioning.

Top Rated Answers
April 6th, 2015 8:30pm
Yes, that is the main way you can tell if you are having one. During a panic attack we often struggle to breathe and begin to hyper ventilate.
March 16th, 2015 7:07am
In my opinion he's it is because when you panic your heart beats faster with then can cause you to breathe faster
March 16th, 2015 12:20pm
It is completely normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. In some cases you may hyperventilate. In these instances, it is helpful to breathe in a brown lunch bag, or take a 5-10 minute walk outside.
April 11th, 2015 11:37am
It's very normal, if unpleasant, to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. Some people feel like they can't breathe, others hyperventilate--it all depends on the person.
May 8th, 2015 1:07pm
When we have pannic attack we have hyperventilation, we breathe too much and too quickly. This breath comes along with frequent sighs or with the need to take at times a deeper inspiration.
May 13th, 2015 7:25pm
Yes, some people face breathing difficulty during panic attacks. That is normal but never healthy. In such cases, practice breathing exercise and try to stay calm.
May 27th, 2015 8:12am
Yes, it is not unusual to experience shortness of breath during a panic attack, there Is also breathing techniques which can help control this.
June 9th, 2015 5:10pm
Yep, it's completely normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. Some people start to hyperventilate whereas others find it difficult to breathe; it would be helpful to practice breathing exercises often to help when you experience a panic attack
July 6th, 2015 10:06pm
Yes, this is one of the normal symptoms of a panic attack. It can sometimes be helpful to attempt to control your breathing to help combat this.
July 13th, 2015 12:42am
Yes, it's very normal. Especially if there's a lot of people around. But when it happens try steadying your breathing. Close your eyes and count to 3, picture a happy memory or place. Take a deep breath in and hold it, then release. Try repeating this multiple times.
August 3rd, 2015 6:17am
yes it is normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. one of the many symptoms is difficult breathing.
August 10th, 2015 2:19am
It is totally normal to have trouble breathing, I learned that having trouble breathing was actually a symptom of a panic attack. It will pass. :)
November 16th, 2015 6:45am
Yes it is normal. When you panic it becomes difficult to breathe. Your heart is pacing and sometimes you become sweaty. Also when you cant breathe it causes you to panick. Ie panick attack
November 18th, 2015 12:03am
It is absolutely normal! Panic attacks take over your senses and you go into fight or flight mode - all your senses are heightened. A panic attack is a physical reaction to an excessively anxious or stressed situation and as a result you will experience physical symptoms such as short or shallow breathing, sweating, shaking, a racing heartbeat, pins and needles, the list can go on and it varies for different people. It is very normal and you are not alone.
November 27th, 2015 2:00am
This is one of the many symptoms of a panic attack, your breathing usually quickens or you struggle to get enough oxygen to your brain. This can make you feel dizzy or disoriented.
December 8th, 2015 12:13am
Yes, but if you ever do have trouble breathing during a panic attack be sure to ring your doctor as soon as possible or things could get worse .
February 22nd, 2016 6:40pm
It is, your body goes off in Panic mode, which makes your heart race and your breathing quickens until you feel you can't breathe anymore. It's completely normal, a tip for when that occurs is to concentrate really hard on your breathing, and picture the air going in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make yourself take deep breaths, filling your stomach with air as much as possible. soon, you'll start to feel a bit calmer, your breathing back to normal which will clear your head.
May 31st, 2016 6:39pm
Yes, it is common to find it hard to breath, because when you are anxious people tend not to breath deeply enough and their breath is quick. So this cause hyperventilation, and you feel that you lack oxygen. Try breathing more deeply, without forcing too much, as this helps decreasing the panic itself.
June 28th, 2016 5:13am
Yes it is! Because when you are having a panic attack, basically you are super anxious so you are breathing faster than usual and your breathings are not as deeper as usual, so this is why you have trouble to breath and you feel pain on your chest.
June 30th, 2016 10:34pm
yes it is. panic attacks are the bodies response to feeling threatened which sometimes causes the person to find it difficult to breathe. in fact it is very common
July 2nd, 2016 5:30am
Panic attacks are periods of intense fear or apprehension of sudden onset accompanied by bodily or cognitive symptoms of variable duration. The most common symptoms are hyperventilating, shortness of breath, light headedness, stiffness, nausea, and so on.
July 25th, 2016 6:18pm
it's very normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. Panic attacks can restrict your chest, and as you try to get more air in, it is common to only get small bits of air. It's important to focus on your breathing during panic attacks because of this!
July 25th, 2016 9:18pm
It is normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. It happens because when you panic, you get in the flight mode of fight or flight.
September 12th, 2016 3:07pm
Yeah, it is completely normal. You'll feel like you can't breathe, you just have to take deep breaths, even if it feels like it's not helping, take deep breaths, it'll regulate your breathing
June 6th, 2017 1:44am
It is normal to experience trouble in breathing. The experience is different for everyone, but very extreme cases cause shaking, crying, and abnormal breathing patterns.
July 17th, 2017 11:25pm
Based on personal experiences and the experiences of those I know, difficulty breathing during a panic attack is completely normal. My own therapist has told me that it is completely normal. Yes, itʻs scary; breathing becomes extremely heavy, you hypervenalate, and sometimes you canʻt breathe at all. But the most important thing is understanding that it is completely normal and as terrifying as it may get, it will NOT last forever.
August 1st, 2017 9:39pm
Having trouble breathing can be one of the symptoms of a panic attack - whilst there are plenty of people that experience this, it still feels scary at the time. Try to practice some grounding or mindfulness techniques that may be able to help you focus on breathing regularly if you have another panic attack.
February 9th, 2018 9:23pm
Everyone experiences panic attack in a different way. However having trouble breathing or painting without physical exertion are common signs of having panic attacks.
February 13th, 2018 7:54am
It is very normal to have trouble breathing during a panic attack. You may feel like you are suffocating, or dying. Everything will hurt to you, but it's ok. Remember that you will be fine, maybe carry around a security item? (I constantly wear the same jacket, that way no matter what I have something that will stay normal)
February 26th, 2018 10:08pm
Yes. Many times, during a panic attack, people report having trouble breathing. In my university psychology class, we did an activity where our professor gave us thin straws and instructed us to only breathe out of them for a full minute - which was supposed to help simulate what having a panic attack feels like. If you are experiencing panic attacks, it may be helpful to go see a doctor to rule out any possible physical conditions that could be causing similar symptoms and to get professional help and support! :)