Breathing is essential to life and occurs naturally with very little or no thought. There are many reasons why our breathing can lose its natural rhythm (see diagram). These triggers cause a disturbance to our breathing which could lead us to experience unpleasant symptoms including breathlessness which may be out of proportion to whatever you are doing.
Having a breathing pattern disorder means we could be using the wrong muscles to breathe, using the upper chest rather than the diaphragm and mouth breathing rather than nose breathing. Breathing could be fast or the breaths too large.
Breathing too much; also known as hyperventilation occurs when we breathe more than the body needs which can cause a chemical imbalance due to a lowering of carbon dioxide. This loss of carbon dioxide causes frightening symptoms which can trigger anxiety and worry leading to a continuation of over breathing.
Over breathing is a normal reaction to stressful stimuli, once this has passed your breathing should return to normal. If there is a prolonged stress or may be a repeated trigger this continual pattern then becomes your new normal and your breathing does not return to how it should be.