Treatments for shortness of breath, or dyspnea, vary depending on the cause, ranging from bronchodilators that help to open up the lungs to anti-anxiety drugs that help when the dyspnea is directly related to panic attacks, explains the University of Rochester Medical Center. Shortness of breath caused by infections can be treated with antibiotics. If tumors or blood clots in the lungs are constricting airways, they need to be removed through chemotherapy or blood thinners.
Shortness of breath often occurs in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, states WebMD. Because anxiety and panic worsen the situation by further constricting the airways, treatment options mostly center on relaxation techniques. For instance, an individual can learn breathing techniques such as breathing in through the nose and breathing out through pursed lips. Visualization exercises and hobbies can also increase relaxation.
Other causes of shortness of breath include heart disease, lung disease, pneumonia, anemia and asthma, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If the shortness of breath causes sleeplessness or is accompanied by a feeling of constriction in the throat, a doctor should be contacted immediately. After analyzing blood tests, chest X-rays, scans and physical exams, the doctor recommends a course of treatment, which often includes lifestyle changes.