Dyspnea can be caused by a number of conditions. It can be construed as symptomatic of MND/ALS; it is a direct consequence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is often diagnosed in conjunction with MND/ALS (As a co-morbidity). (Website als.org, Kasarskis)
Dyspnea refers to the sensation of difficult or uncomfortable breathing. It is a subjective experience perceived and reported by an affected patient. Dyspnea on exertion may occur normally, but is considered indicative of disease when it occurs at a level of activity that is usually well tolerated.
When the sensation of breathlessness occurs in the recumbent position it is known as orthopnea. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea is a sensation of shortness of breath that awakens the patient, often after one or 2 hours of sleep and is usually relieved in the upright position. (Website ncbi.nih.gov, Chapter 11)
If you are experiencing anxiety with your dyspnea, depending on the cause, your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication, called an anxiolytic. These medications will help you to relax. These may include lorazepam (Ativan®), or alprazolam (Xanax®). It is important to take these medications only when you are feeling anxious. Do not operate heavy machinery, or drive an automobile while taking these. These medications must be used very cautiously if you have severe dyspnea. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking this medication with your doctor or healthcare provider.