Hyperventilation and Psychopathology

A Clinical Perspective
  • Herbert Fensterheim


Hyperventilation often plays an important role in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. Given the high frequency of incorrect breathing patterns in the adult population (Lum, 1976), attention to the symptoms of hyperventilation should be a routine part of every psychological examination, regardless of the specific presenting complaints. Faulty breathing patterns affect patients differently. They may be the central problem, directly bringing on the pathological symptoms; they may magnify, exacerbate, or maintain symptoms brought on by other causes; or they may be involved in peripheral problems that must be ameliorated before psychotherapeutic access is gained to the core treatment targets. Their manifestations may be direct and obvious, as when overbreathing leads to a panic attack, or they may initiate or maintain subtle symptoms that perpetuate an entire personality disorder. Diagnosis of hyperventilatory conditions is crucial.


Social Phobia Panic Disorder Panic Attack Significant Person Hyperventilation Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Fensterheim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryCornell University Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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