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I Believe I Have OCD

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I have been having issues of being conscious of my own breathing for 2 years. It started off with lips going tingly then my arms would go numb. my chest started hurting it felt like I was getting choked and my face would turn red and I couldn’t get s breath. I notice after a year and a half I was controlling my breathing. The hospital I went to gave me a chest x ray and it was fine. I also have asthma so I got a inhailor but that don’t work either. Also I take so many deep breaths my stomach will swell and hurt. I have to undergo iv sedation the twilight for a full mouth extraction. Will I be ok since I’m not in control will my body breath on its own or will I freak out since I control my breathing? Will I be ok because the numbing makes me feel like I can breathe. What should I do? (age 23, from US)

I Believe I Have OCD

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A: First, it’s important to understand that we can consciously affect our breathing, but we don’t “control it.” Luckily, it’s something our autonomic nervous system takes care of for us. You will continue breathing if you are sedated, asleep, unconscious, anxious, etc. It truly is automatic — just like your heart beats without you having to think about it.

The problems you are listing could be anxiety related, but I wouldn’t rule out medical causes. Also, it may be a combination of both. Many people with asthma have anxiety, and it’s understandable, anyone would feel anxious if you feel like you can’t breathe. I would suggest seeing both a respiratory specialist as well as a mental health therapist who works with anxiety disorders. You can learn many useful ways to cope with both conditions and find more peace in your daily living, but a therapist might also be able to help prepare you for the dental procedure. Good luck!

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

I Believe I Have OCD

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). I Believe I Have OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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