Skip to content

Asthma Health Center

Asthma, Stress, and Anxiety: A Risky Cycle

Stress-induced asthma attacks not 'all in your head', expert says.
Font Size
A
A
A

Coping with Anxiety During an Asthma Attack

When people struggle to breathe during an attack, anxiety can escalate into panic. “It is a significant labor to take your next breath,” Chipps says.

Having rescue medication on hand at all times, understanding how long it takes for drugs to work, and knowing when to call for help will prevent confusion during an attack, Gergen says. Create an “action plan” with your doctor, he suggests. “The best stress reliever is having your medications and an action plan and knowing how to use it.”

An asthma attack typically subsides in 5 to 10 minutes. If it doesn’t ease in 15 minutes or gets worse, it’s time to get medical help.

Another big stressor for people with asthma: “the fear of their asthma preventing them from leading a normal life,” Gergen says. But that fear may be a strong signal; it’s probably time to see a doctor to adjust treatment and medications for better asthma control.   

When the disease is managed well, people don’t have to live in fear, Gergen says. “They restrict their own activities -- not wanting to exercise or participate in certain things -- without the understanding that if they receive proper evaluation and adequate treatment, they can lead normal lives and participate in normal activities in the vast majority of cases,” he says. “The self-limiting isn’t really necessary.”

1 | 2
Reviewed on June 22, 2009

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
 
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
 
Madison Wisconsin Capitol
Slideshow
woman wearing cpap mask
Article
 
red wine pouring into glass
Slideshow
Woman holding inhaler
Quiz
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Man outdoors coughing
Article
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
Article
 
10 Worst Asthma Cities
Slideshow
runner
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections