copd and anxiety

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i am a 77 year old male with very bad copd. recently suffered an exacibation and was sent to my local hospital for a ct scan. the dioctor who read the scan  didnot give me very much information except to say he thought i had a chest infection. and gave me a course of antibiotics and some patches to put on my arm for the pain this mpain has become over the past few days particularly when i breathe in. '

because of this pain my anxiety has increased tenfold and i have been unable to sleep for the last three nights.

please is there anybody out there who can help me as i don not know where to turn. i know that many of you with copd get panic attacks. i never realised just how bad they could be. I  have tried laying down but the fear kicks in and I immediiately jump out of bed because I feel that I am suffocating and now with the back pain the feeling of suffocating is getting worse. I am even too frightened to take a sleeping tablet in case I do not wake up/

michael 66193

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  • Posted


    Anxiety is very common with COPD. Although there are breathing exercises, pusered lip breathing, breath in through your nose 4 seconds hold for 2 seconds and breath out for 6 seconds through your mouth use pursed lips, like your are whistling.

    Do not be afraid of seeking medical help.

    I take half tablet of Lorazepam twice daily, can take three if required. There are alternatives speak to your GP.

    Another thing to take into consideration is sleeping position, at first I could not sleep on my left side, which is still the case. I then found I could no longer sleep lying flat, it actually brought a full blown exacerbation. Since then I have a device which raises the pillows so I sleep raised up.

    You can try raising your bed at one end.

  • Posted

    Hi Michael.

    Your symptoms  are very similar to an excacerbation that my husband had which was pleurisy. He had antibiotics . He also had panic attacks. We found that if I talked him through his breathing that he could calm down ie " In through the nose out through the mouth, deep breaths " concentrating on this mantra , enabled him to not focus on the panic.If it helps you to know, the consultant told him that he would NOT die through these breathing attacks. Also he tended to attempt to sleep sitting up whilst he was unwell with this excacerbation. I understand your fear and sympathise but if you can just control it by telling yourself that this panic attack or breathlessness WILL pass. If you have anyone that can talk you through the breathing technique at the time that it is needed  and do it with you, it really helps. My husband would focus on me and we would do it together and this would bring the panic attack under control. I hope this helps you.

  • Posted

    Hi Michael

    If you don't have Lorazepam, you might try some of the herbal teas designed specifically to ease tension &/or the ones to help you sleep.

    It is vital that you start getting some good sleep.  Your body needs it for healing and your mind needs it for sanity.   If you don't catch up on that sleep, if you continue without sleeping, you can become clinically sleep deprived.  Clinical sleep deprivation looks & feels exactly like insanity.  I have been there before due to chronic pain.  It's not fun and more than half the medical world will dismiss you as mentally disturbed.  It takes a very good shrink at that point to discern that the problem is 100% lack of sleep.

    Please call your doc's office right away.  You need sleep.

  • Posted sorry you are having such a tough time.  I am 75 and was diagnosed 5 years ago.  My physician IMMEDIATELY put me on oxygen to use during the night and also Spiriva.  I have been on Spiriva for 5 years now and Symbicort.  I JUST read an article by physicians stating that Spiriva has been proven to slow down the progress and make COPD patients feel better. (These physicians were NOT connected to the company that manufactures Spiriva).  I wish ALL physicians would prescribe oxygen for their patients with COPD.....I think that has truly kept me going and not having exacerbations.  I have had only one exacerbation in the last 5 years.

    Bless you Michael.........stay strong.  Please check with your doctor regarding Spiriva and oxygen.

  • Posted

    Yes I have panic attacks and when in hospital doctors have me lornzapan and oramorph what a big difference it has made a odd one now again but can manage it now big difference it's made


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