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basildev

Shortness of breath and other breathing issues

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basildev   
basildev

Hey everyone,

 

I'm asking this question on behalf of my mum who has been taking Effexor for several years.

 

About a year ago she started getting shortness of breath and we were very worried about her. She had every test known to man and all came up clear. It occurred to her that it might be the medication that was causing this.

 

Has anybody else ever experienced this side effect? The symptoms only came up in the last year or so.

 

Now I've discovered she has changed meds. Her doctor took her off Effexor over 2 months and she's having horrendous withdwawal symptoms. The doctor just responds by throwing more (different) meds at her, including an anti-psychotic for bi-polar.

 

I so wish she had told me she was going to go off Effexor so I could have warned her. I fear now it's too late and she's going to suffer through many months (or years) of debilitating withdrawals.

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Skyler   
Skyler

Now I've discovered she has changed meds. Her doctor took her off Effexor over 2 months and she's having horrendous withdwawal symptoms. The doctor just responds by throwing more (different) meds at her, including an anti-psychotic for bi-polar.

 

I so wish she had told me she was going to go off Effexor so I could have warned her. I fear now it's too late and she's going to suffer through many months (or years) of debilitating withdrawals.

 

Hi basildev.. I'm very sorry to read of your mother's withdrawal.. merdre.. how dreadful. You must be enormously frustrated. Wow..

 

I wonder if it might still be in time for her to reinstate a low dose of effexor. Others with more knowledge will be chiming in.

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basildev   
basildev

Merdre indeed, Shuyler! :blink:

 

I was thinking of that too. She says it's been 'a few months' since she changed meds (end therefore discontinued Effexor).

 

Thing is, she had a really bad dizzy spell a couple of months back and got sent to the hospital. It really scared her and they found nothing wrong. If ONLY I'd known she'd gone off Effexor I'd have put 2 and 2 together. It was a withdrawal symptom!

 

She's going into have a hip operation in 2 days. Her doctor says she's not going to change her meds now. I really think my mum wouldn't be game to try and reinstate anyway. She's always trusted doctors and psychiatrists implicitly. She'll probbaly want to follow their advice. So I have to respect that she needs to do what's right for her.

 

But I think she would be happy to know if her shortness of breath was due to Effexor. That might put her mind at ease.

 

In any case I have sent her several links from this forum about AD withdrawal. That's really all I can do. She's on her own path.

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Narcissus   
Narcissus

I've had a few strange panicky episodes during Effexor withdrawal where I experienced a shortness of breath and a general difficulty breathing. I had never experienced anything like it prior. But it was episodic, not continuous. Does she constantly feel short of breathe?

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basildev   
basildev

Hi pgd,

 

the symptoms she was having were while she was on the medication, not when she came off it. The shortness of breath was why she decided to change meds.

 

Mum's wasn't continuous either. But enough to get her worried.

 

Thanks for your reply:)

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Finn   
Finn

I'm wondering if anyone has experience this as a withdrawal symtpom: shortness of breath, as in needing to take quick, short breaths in order to get any oxygen, dizziness like the room is titling and thinking you'll collaspe and pain and weakness in limbs like they're not getting enough oxygen. It comes suddenly and lasts for maybe a minute but the pain in limbs tends ot linger. It's literally like I'm not getting enough oxygen. I'm tapering off Prozac, after using it as a bridge to get off Effexor.

 

This may not purely be withdrawal since I do have asthma, but this specific symptom pattern isn't how I experience asthma, and it has never happened before, but has happened a lot in the past few weeks. Alternatively, it could be made worse by low blood sugar because in the past, I have at least twice experienced instances where I showered before eating anything and actually saw black closing in like I was going to pass out. So, there's a lot that could be causing this, but it is very, very scary, and this praticular thing hasn't occured before.

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Marie   
Marie

I'm thinking this could be a w/d sx involving one of the cranial nerves. There are nerves that come directly out of the brain and give sensory info to all parts of the body.

 

Shortness of breath is a common benzo w/d sx, and this involves the vagus cranial nerve which controls info to the epiglottis, larynx, pharynx, bronchii, lungs, and all the way down the respiratory system into the heart.

 

Similar w/d sx also involve other "brain med" w/ds.

 

It's definitely worth consideration and perhaps some research.

 

Marie

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Petunia   
Petunia

As Marie mentioned, 'shortness of breath' is a symptom common to withdrawal and anxiety in general. Members have talked about it in other threads.  When this happens, its important to relax and take slow deep breath, not short fast ones or you will hyperventilate.  Maybe learn some breathing techniques or exercises.  There is one in this thread here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/

 

Or I'm sure a search would bring up other kinds of exercises.

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Jose   
Jose
Hello, I wanted to share a breathing sequence that is doing me lots of good. I learnt it at a 3-day course last year. It was given by the 'art of living' people, I didn't know them before but later I found they are a large community worldwide that some regard as sectarian-type.
Anyhow I have no relation whatsoever with the art of living and I have not followed any of their stuff after that course last year, but I do have to thank them for teaching me this sequence, because during the periods that I manage to do this regularly, every morning, the effect is outstanding.
 
I started doing 20 minute sessions every morning just after waking up and before breakfast, and it makes such a difference throughout the day, on the mood, the energy levels, the emotional endurance and enthusiasm. As I have been practising this, I have found my own personal variations.
 
Here is the sequence:

Part 1 - Ujjayi: breathing making a gutural sound like trying to close your throat while you breath. Breathe in counting 4 in your mind, hold breath counting 4, breathe out counting 6, count 2 while no air in the lungs.
This is done in a 10+10+10 way: 10 times with your hands each side of the waist, then rest for a few seconds, 10 times with your thumbs under armpits and hands open, rest and 10 times with palms against your upper back, elbows pointing upward.
You are supposed to sit in the thunderbolt pose, which is on your knees, with bottom resting on the feet, in order to maintain a straight back. It's not so comfortable so you may want to use a cushion over your feet.

Part 2 - bhastrika: still thunderbolt pose, fists next to your shoulders, you breath in very rapidly (like a blow, but with care) while you lift your arms to the ceiling and open your hands, then bring the fists back down to the shoulders while releasing the air rapidly. All through the nostrils. Up and down should happen in around 1 second. You do three series of 20 ups and downs with a 20 second rest in between.

Part 3 - sit in the lotus position or similar, do a long ohm three times. This helps me focus and get a stiller mind.

Part 4 - breathing normally (no sounds, not taking full inhalations or exhalations), but without stops between inhaling and exhaling, lotus position or resting your back against something like a wall, etc. 20 times in and out at a slow pace (5 seconds per in+out), 40 times medium speed (1-2 seconds per in+out) and 40 times fast (double the medium speed). You do this 20+40+40 series three times without stops.

The whole sequence takes about 20 minutes. Try this for 3-4 weeks minimum to get effect. Best done just after waking up and before breakfast. 
The science behind this seems to be the oxygenation of the body, the relaxing effect of conscious breathing and the stimulation of he nerves, especially the vagus nerve, which is the nexus between the brain and the guts. 
 
My best wishes to you all.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Thank you, Jose. Are those yoga breathing techniques?

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Jose   
Jose

Ujjayi and bhastrika are yoga breathing techniques, yes.

The ohm does carry breathing with it of course.

The fourth part is more like a sequence of abdominal breathing series at different speed, I don't think it relates to a specific pranayama form.

 

I find that the focus during the exercises makes a big difference. Encouraging myself internally to pay attention to my breathing, without forcing myself to it, has a noticeable effect. It's like inviting myself to enjoy it while doing it. Of course sometimes I'm not in the mood for joy, but still send myself gentle reminders during the breathing. After all, it's this growing capacity to lift oneself up physically and mentally what makes the whole thing work.

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katieb   
katieb

This is happening quite frequently recently. It's like I suddenly stop breathing then try to breathe and nothing happens so I panick and take a sharp intake of breath.It is happening g mostly at night when I am in bed.Does anyone else have anything like this ?

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stan   
stan

during several years, i had to think to walk, to think to speak, to think to stand up... all what we do normally automatic was no more automatic, and today i have still residuals after 6 years

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someday   
someday

Yes I have always gotten this a lot during times of anxiety. It is a very common experience. You feel like you have stopped breathing, and that it's necessary to start consciously breathing, but the truth is that you would continue breathing subconsciously anyway. It's just your anxiety making you paranoid.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Rather than throwing yourself into anxiety, as someday described, take up slow meditative breathing to calm yourself.

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genlady   
genlady

I experience breathlessness daily.  I just have a difficult time getting a breath, or it is labored.  It does help to take deep relaxing breaths.  I have the burning tingling sensation in my chest and throat at the same time also.  

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btdt   
btdt

Before I stopped taking effexor .. but believe I was in tolerance I had breathing issues... went to the hosp a few times was given a mask... can't recall it all too long ago.  One extremely acute incident of not breathing I could not lay down and they kept wanting me too... I told them if I lay down I drown... I simply could not breath.  

 

I have had issue ever since cannot breath well enough to run for instance I would not dare try it. 

In my gut I know it has something to do with the effexor along with all the other tolerance crap ... head drops and foot dragging to name two. 

 

that is my two cents

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btdt   
btdt

Meditative breathing got me this far... that and deep relaxation and walking slowly very slowly

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MelodySings   
MelodySings

I'd really love to hear from anyone else who has or is experiencing breathing problems in withdrawal. Since I stopped completely 7 months ago I've had repeated bouts of respiratory problems, mostly at night but now during the day also. At night when I start to fall asleep I wake with a jolt, heart pounding and stomach tension/anxiety. This happens over and over, last night was particularly bad. I also feel like I've got a heaviness or blockage in my chest. I know this is from damage to central nervous system - but I just need some support, it's really scary and I can't see an end in sight. I haven't been to my doctor about it yet and I just can't see what help he will be. I know far more about this that he seems to.

Thanks

Edited by scallywag
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Dez   
Dez

Hello, Melody.

 

I can certainly say that I've had the feeling of breathlessness or like my lungs can't get enough air. I've figured out that this mostly has to do with the anxiety we feel. It causes tension in our body, including the throat, and makes us think we're not getting enough air. I'm not sure what respiratory problems you're having, but maybe it could be anxiety and tension for you as well? I know using a diffuser with aromatherapy has helped me out quite a lot. I have also had the jolting awake when trying to fall asleep, the heart pounding, the tension.

 

I also have a lot of chest pain, tightness, heaviness, ect. I've had it ever since this started and it is very scary! Sometimes I think that I'm going to just fall over and croak. I've gone to the ER and no one can find anything. They did EKGs, bloodwork, chest x-ray, nothing came up. That was back in December. So far nothing has really gone wrong with me. It hurts, it's scary, it's uncomfortable, but I haven't had any dire issues. It's always best to go to your doctor just in case. Withdrawals cause a lot of different problems and everyone is different in the journey/battle.

 

Know this: it's one hell of a battle, but you will win it. We're both still in early withdrawal and have to hang in there to see this through. Do what you can to just observe what's going on and accept that it's happening. Try not to have the initial freak out if you have an anxiety or panic attack. Just breathe and tell yourself "this is withdrawal, it will pass eventually." I know this seems hard, and it's extremely difficult going through withdrawals, but you can do this! Hang in there and keep moving forward, no matter what happens! If you haven't read it yet, I advise reading Irishwill's recovery post. It's keeping me going more than anything else!

Edited by scallywag
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MelodySings   
MelodySings

Thanks for that reply Dez.

 

Since I posted that the sleep jolting has come and gone, got worse then better but it's back with a vengeance last few nights, in fact tonight I am particularly bad. I now can't sleep/am afraid to keep trying because I've been jolting and twitching over and over for last couple of hours along with creeping numbness down my arms and feeling like I'm going to faint. Horrible. I have been delving into the topic of histamine recently after lots of research, where I've found a lot of good info about why I've now seem to have become so sensitive to so many foods and chemicals.

 

A lot of it is to do with histamine. I've never obviously suffered from histamine before but in withdrawal I've slowly begun to put together the jigsaw puzzle of symptoms and histamine seems to be playing a major role now in feeling unwell. I've become sensitive to meats, fish, cheeses, fruits - loads of things, and one of the main symptoms when I've had these foods especially at night is the repeated jolting/heart pounding/anxiety/fear/insomnia. I'm laying here running through what I've eaten this evening because I know something has really upset me, I feel really bad tonight. 

 

Im only just starting to explore this and I've not done a total elimination diet yet. 

 

If anyone is interested look up a couple of histamine websites for advice, (obviously most advice won't be for those specifically in AD withdrawal). I've kind of been putting off doing the proper elimination diet as I really struggle with food issues, I have a long history of eating disorders, but I feel so bad tonight I'm going to have to try it. I can't stand this any more, it is really awful and scary. I am trying to stay calm and relaxed but I know eventually I'm going to have to sleep :( Ive never had anything like this before in my life until stopping antidepressants 

 

 

Edited by scallywag
add extra lines after paragraphs

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