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Fear Of Expiration

Question:

Some time ago I became having fear of expiration because of the movement of the thoracic wall, I’m anxious when it goes down after breathing. It became a routine to stretch the muscles authomatically during expiration. I know all this it’s only in my mind, but if you have a treatment strategy please let me know. Respectfully, Rita

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Answer:

Rita, you are correct when you state that your fear of expiration is in your head. In other words, you are experiencing an intense anxiety disorder and, since they go together, some depression. It is fairly common for some people to experience their anxiety in the form of somatic symptoms.

Somatic symptoms refer to the fact that our emotions take a toll on health. One form of somatic symptoms is to develop hypochondriasis. Hypchondriasis refers to the fact that a person becomes obsessed with their health. In this obsession they become hyper alert to every body function that, otherwise, they would pay no attention to. Breathing is a natural function that we ignore unless we have been running and get out of breath. Under a lot of anxiety and with obsessional thinking someone like your self become very alert to how they are breathing: in your case, exhaling.

I have seen this before and can assure you that there is treatment for this. One aspect of treatment for this is to be prescribed anti depressant medications that have a dual impact on anxiety as well as depression. The second part of treatment is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to help you examine your beliefs and how unrealistic they are when it comes to your body. Then, in this CBT, you will learn how to replace those unrealistic thoughts with those based on reality. Lastly, it would be a good idea for you to learn meditation as well as Yoga as ways to reduce your anxiety and stress levels.

I would encourage you to act quickly as this type of anxiety can become worse. Be assured that I have seen people recover from this type of anxiety symptom and adjust very well to handling stress.

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