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see asphyxiaasphyxia
, deficiency of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide in the blood and body tissues. Asphyxia, often referred to as suffocation, usually results from an interruption of breathing due to mechanical blockage of the breathing passages, paralysis of the respiratory muscles
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What does it mean when you dream about suffocation?

Suffocation in a dream may represent intense anxiety associated with being confined or mean the dreamer feels smothered by some situation or relationship.

References in classic literature ?
On that evening, Captain Nemo ought to open the taps of his reservoirs, and let some pure air into the interior of the Nautilus; without this precaution we could not get rid of the sense of suffocation.
I shall only have time to reach the bell, and pull it violently, before the sense of suffocation will come.
The public dinner to our distinguished fellow-colonist and townsman, WILKINS MICAWBER, ESQUIRE, Port Middlebay District Magistrate, came off yesterday in the large room of the Hotel, which was crowded to suffocation.
The very atmosphere that Elizabeth inhaled was hot and dry, and by the time she reached the point where the course led her from the highway she experienced a sensation like suffocation.
But so long as we kept our nostrils buried in our handkerchiefs, there was small danger of suffocation.
Nicholl hastened to stop the escape of oxygen with which the atmosphere was saturated, which would have been the death of the travelers, not by suffocation, but by combustion.
Ramallah, May 21(Petra)-- Dozens of Palestinian youths suffered suffocations due to inhaling tear gas fired at them by the Israeli forces during clashes that broke late Saturday near Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem.