Recurring asthma attacks in children- emotional causes

A close friend of mine used to be asthmatic during her early childhood years. By the time we become close friends when we were 18 years old, it seemed that she had outgrown the asthma and no longer suffer from the attacks. Aside from her, I have known of people who used to suffer from asthma when they were kids but at one point that attacks had stopped.

What are the possible emotional factors that causes asthma in children?

asthma in children- emotional factors

I feel that the asthma attacks may correlate to the emotional state of the child. Asthma attack is signified by the inability to breathe due to the pathway narrows and constrict. Sometimes mucus is present as well.

It is important to note that asthma is a life threatening condition. A child with asthma would need to carry an inhaler with him/her at all times. Without an inhaler, a child or a person could die from an asthma attack. So this article is NOT suggesting for one to throw the inhaler away and work on emotional factors. But instead, if one could understand the triggers and work to overcome these triggers, the chances of recurrence may be very much reduced.

In asthma attacks, the child is unable to breathe and in some cases, experience a drowning sensation. It may be a sign of anxiety, fear or being overwhelmed. The child may be feeling terrible bouts of anxiety when dealing with certain conditions that she is not equipped to deal with or with insufficient support. For example, if the home is troubled with parents constantly arguing and threatening to live, the child may feel overwhelmed and afraid.

Do note that even with similar environment, each child would react to trauma differently. This is something I come to notice after going into deep detailed case studies of some families that I know. A rebellious child may give attitude problems or become a bully whereas a timid child may develop symptoms such as asthma when triggered by fear or extreme anxiety.

In the case of my friend, when she was born, her parents were extremely poor. They actually came from a small town, riding an old motorbike for few hundred miles with only RM20 (about USD7) in their pockets. From there, her parents went to sell local desserts at construction sites, and slowly save money. She spent her early childhood years in poverty. Halfway through school, they move to another town quite far away but decided to continue her education in the same school. My friend, in her teens, would walk quite a long distance to those cheap noisy coffee shops nearest to her school. She would then order her food and then sit there almost the entire afternoon doing her homework or revising her studies in the middle of the chaos and noise.

She was all alone by herself.

Her parents would then come over to pick her up in the evening after work.

Slowly, with hardwork and savings, her father who learned how to repair motorbikes was able to have enough money to rent a shop and buy some equipments to repair motorbike. Slowly their business build up and living conditions improved. The moment my friend turn 17 years old, she went and sat for a driver’s license. They borrowed from the bank to get a car for her. She need not wait at coffee shops all alone anymore. And around that time, she stopped getting asthma attacks.

Why some children will outgrow their asthma as they grow up

A possible reason is that the child has matured and learn to deal with his/her emotions like anxiety better. Or the child has left the situation that is triggering extreme emotional upheaval such as:

  • leaving the school where the child is possibly being bullied or ridiculed often
  • if the child is bullied  the child may have learned to defend himself/herself through standing up, reporting or even taking martial arts class
  • an emotional/physically abusive parents left (either through going to jail or not gaining custody in a divorce)
  • the child learn of ways to cope with the emotions through support by parents, friends or teachers

Other remedies that can help with asthma

Do note that one’s prime care doctor needs to be consulted before the methods below are being tried.

I have known of cases whereby children where sent for swimming lessons under close supervision by their parents. The child needs to be constantly assured so as not to suffer panic attacks in he water. And one child was able to drastically reduce his asthma attacks through strengthening his lungs. However, this is not advisable if the child is naturally afraid of water as this may cause his anxiety level to shoot through the roof.

Another method I heard some parents using is traditional Chinese medication to rebalance the elements in the body. Even though I believe that asthma has an emotional cause, the frequency and severity of each attacks can be reduced and managed of the inner energies, especially of the lung is being strengthened and imbalances corrected,


When a child has recurring health issues, the solution is straight to the pediatrician. If one medicine is not working, then the next, next, next. If the medicine becomes ineffective, then change to a higher or stronger dose. Seldom do anyone stop and wonder if there may be some possible emotional triggers that causes the recurring of asthma.

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Related Pages: Pregnancy  | ChildrenADHD/ Asperger/ Autism

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