Panic Attacks while Sleeping

Panic attacks are characterized by sudden short periods of fear, anxiety, pounding heartbeats, body tremors and physiological arousal. When panic attacks while sleeping are experienced, it can be due to extreme stress a person had lived through the during the day.

Signs and Symptoms

Most panic attacks strike a lot of people when they are far from home, although they can happen at any period of the day or night and just about anywhere. This means a panic attack can occur while shopping for grocery, running across the street, driving to work, while relaxing on a couch after work or during sleep. Symptoms and signs of the condition attack a person abruptly, reaching their peak after about ten minutes. While they rarely occur for more than 60 minutes, they come to an end after 20 or 30 minutes. Panic attacks while sleeping are described as full blown if there is hyperventilation, racing heart, chest discomfort, chocking, sweating, feeling unreal, upset stomach or nausea, feeling faint or lightheaded, cold or hot flashes, tingling sensations and fear of losing control or dying.

A huge segment of people usually go through a panic attack without a recurrence of the complications, meaning that one or two experiences should not be scary. Nonetheless, people who have gone through panic attacks can find they graduate to have a panic disorder, characterized by reoccurrence of attacks, together with other transformations in behavior, further attacks or persistent cases of anxiety.

If panic attacks take place when a person is sleeping, they are very upsetting. Cause can be stress experienced during the day. These attacks also take place once an individual feels anxious after losing a loved one or introduction of instant change in the routine of life for a person. Since many people find it hard to channel out grief, it can dealt with while asleep.

The symptoms or indications of panic attacks while sleeping vary from one individual to another. A person might feel they are on the verge of death followed by problems in breathing. Others might feel they have a lethal disease ending up in sudden awakening from an intense sleep which can lead to pacing about with sheer restlessness. Sleeping becomes impossible since they are not able to enter into a deep sleep due to fear of the panic attacks reoccurring. Sleeping patterns are thus disrupted and might lead to intense insomnia.


There are various ways of dealing with panic attacks while sleeping. Some of the medications used to deal with the attacks or panic disorders are varied as well, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, which is known as a highly effective and active anti-anxiety drug. The most effective way of dealing with panic attacks is cognitive behavioral therapy that also works for agoraphobia. This therapy has its main focus on mental behaviors and patterns triggering or sustaining the serious panic attacks and helps an individual to work on fears realistically.

Another way of dealing with panic attacks while sleeping includes being exposed to therapy specifically developed for panic disorders and attacks. In this therapy, one is exposed to panic sensations physically in a controlled and safe environment. This gives a person an opportunity to develop healthier and lasting ways of dealing with the issue.

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