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How to Stop a Nervous Cough

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Stop a Nervous Cough

A nervous cough is a type of cough that is unrelated to infections, but it is caused by nerves or emotions. It is characterized by a dry, irritating cough that usually occurs during those moments when a person feels stressed, nervous, anxious, etc. In some cases, a specific pharmaceutical treatment may be necessary. Others just have to implement some relaxation techniques and combat the stress and anxiety causing the cough. In this OneHowTo article we explain how to stop a nervous cough and how you can identify it.

You may also be interested in: How to Use Honey to Stop a Cough

Causes and symptoms of a nervous cough

Nervous coughs are unlike other types of cough. They are not caused by a particular disease or condition, but instead originate from some sort of problem affecting the nervous system. Some established factors that are common causes of nervous coughs include when a person has experienced a state of stress or nervousness, anxiety or has suffered an emotional trauma.

The symptoms are easy to identify, but it is important to know how it manifests and what its characteristics are, to see if this really is a nervous cough or not.

  • It is a dry cough that can appear and disappear suddenly.
  • It is not accompanied by mucus.
  • It is not accompanied by other respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or wheezing, or other respiratory problems such as fever, weakness, loss of appetite, etc.
  • It usually occurs during periods when the person is stressed, nervous, distressed or experiencing complicated situations etc., and then stops during periods when the person feels completely relaxed, such as on holiday, far away from anything that causes them anxiety.
  • It appears a lot more frequently during the night and can be persistent during some key moments during the day.
  • It causes irritation in the airways.

Despite this, you should be aware that it is essential to seek medical advice if you have a persistent cough that does not stop. It is always necessary to obtain a reliable diagnosis so you can determine the exact cause of the problem and can discount any of the most serious diseases or pathologies.

How to Stop a Nervous Cough - Causes and symptoms of a nervous cough

Treatment for a nervous cough

A nervous cough is the body's response to a feeling or emotion that is being repressed, so it is important to pay attention and start appropriate treatment. First, the causative psychological factor needs to be identified, whether it is stress, anxiety, nervousness, a recent emotional trauma, etc. It may require the intervention of a psychotherapist to help the patient to externalize and express their emotions in order to get to the root of the problem.

In addition to adequate medication, if needed, to help relieve a cough such as cough medicine, inhaled corticosteroids, lozenges, etc., the doctor may also prescribe medication to treat any anxiety which is causing the nervous cough and to promote relaxation. Also, you must learn to physically and mentally relax and contribute to your well-being to combat a nervous cough. For this, some very beneficial measures and practices include:

  • Breathing techniques: learning to breathe properly is essential, both for getting rid of accumulated tension in the chest to improve its capacity and to properly absorb oxygen.
  • Relaxation exercises: you can implement relaxation exercises to sleep well which we will explain in this article. These will help you to sleep, combat stress and improve blood oxygenation.
  • Meditation or other therapies: Meditation is a practice through which a state of deep concentration is achieved which relaxes the mind and helps to eliminate stress and negative emotions. In addition to this, yoga or Pilates are also good disciplines to follow.
  • Physical activity: when exercise is performed, this releases endorphins which are hormones that promote an optimal state of mind, a sense of well-being and happiness. This is why being physically active on a regular basis or doing a sport you like are also good choices for relaxation and therefore help to relieve a nervous cough.
How to Stop a Nervous Cough - Treatment for a nervous cough

Natural remedies for a nervous cough

In addition to the above, natural medicine is often the best ally to stop a nervous cough and for helping the body to achieve a state of deep relaxation whilst controlling the levels of stress and anxiety. Some home treatments that give good results are as follows:

  • Mallow: soothes irritation that can cause a nervous cough in the airways and, at the same time, soothes the vocal cords. We recommend drinking a mallow infusion at night, when this symptom tends to increase.
  • Passionflower: besides facilitating the passage of air through the bronchi, passionflower has powerful sedative and relaxing properties. You can drink it as an infusion, liquid extract or take it in capsules. You can find out all the details in our article on how to take passionflower.
  • Thyme: this is one of the most used natural cough medicines when it comes to irritating coughs and chest and throat infections. Prepare an infusion of thyme by adding 2 tablespoons to a cup of boiling water. When ready, strain and add a teaspoon of honey.
  • Eucalyptus vapours: the vapours are ideal for unblocking the airways and soothing irritation caused by coughing. Boil a few eucalyptus leaves in 1/2 litre of water. Once you've taken it off the heat, after making sure it does not burn, place the pan on a flat surface and bring your nose close to start inhaling the vapours.

Find out more remedies such as those in our article on how to treat a dry cough with home remedies.

How to Stop a Nervous Cough - Natural remedies for a nervous cough

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Stop a Nervous Cough, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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