Slowed Breathing Symptom of Addiction

Slowed Breathing as a Symptom of Addiction

Slowed breathing is a symptom associated with substance abuse, addiction or withdrawal, whereby you’ll find it difficult to breathe properly or have a reduced urge to exhale and inhale (with long pauses between each breath). The normal rate of breathing ranges from 12 to 20 breaths every 60 seconds. Anything below that is considered as slowed breathing – or respiratory depression (as used in most medical texts). Nevertheless, there are cases where prolonged periods of the condition could lead to bronchiectasis, empyema, pulmonary oedema and other lung diseases.

When you or someone close to you is addicted to (or abuses) a substance, the general composition of the body becomes destabilised – especially the central nervous system and respiratory tract. This could also occur during withdrawal from using such substances. In many cases, slowed breathing becomes a major problem, which if not tackled, could lead to life-threatening complications.

Signs of Slowed Breathing

Recognising the signs of slowed breathing when they begin to manifest makes it easy for you to be diagnosed and treated properly. Here are some symptoms you should look out for:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dry coughing (could sometimes produce blood or mucus)
  • Your lower extremities will become swollen
  • Shortness of breath (especially when partaking in physical activities)
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue and subsequent weight loss
  • Difficulty in breathing when lying down or seated in a particular position
  • A feeling of drowning, suffocation, or impending danger
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When to visit a health Expert

If you’re experiencing addiction or substance abuse withdrawal (or know someone else who is), the first thing to do is to talk to a loved one or see a health professional as quickly as possible. This is because slowed breathing might not only be a symptom of addiction or substance abuse, but also a sign of other illnesses that could culminate in life-threatening ailments, if not tackled immediately.

It’s also important to note that addiction, withdrawal or the abuse of any substances aren’t the only causes of slowed breathing. The following could also apply pneumonia; taking the wrong medications; large amounts of mucus collected in the chest wall; lung and heart infections; as well as other factors. This is why it’s wise to know what the exact cause is so that the right treatment or therapy can be administered promptly.

When you’re speaking with a health expert, certain questions will be asked to help determine the history of symptoms. These will include queries about when last you experienced ‘normal breathing’; whether your cough produces blood or mucus; if you often gasp for air, amongst others. Endeavour to provide the right answers and try your best to recall how long the symptoms have been present. This will enable the doctor to treat you properly.

However, if it appears the breathing has led to further heart or lung disease, you might be admitted to hospital. This is just to make sure you get adequate treatment under the watchful eyes of professionals.

Furthermore, if your slowed breathing is traced to other co-causes like pneumonia (or even heart and lung disease) or those you’ve had since infancy (such as asthma), different treatments will be administered. However, more often than not, substance abuse is the popular cause of these symptoms.

That said, any time you or a loved one experiences any of the following, you’re likely to be suffering from slowed breathing:  feelings of suffocation

  • difficulty in breathing when lying down flat
  • rapid heart rate
  • increased pulse
  • long pauses in between each breath
  • chest pains, especially when coughing

This could be as a result of substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms. Regardless, don’t hesitate to contact a doctor, so you can receive all the necessary treatment you need.

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