Books and Articles About Anxiety Disorders

A panic attack while sleeping is a frightening experience in which a person feels rapid heartbeat, anxiety, a feeling of confusion, intense fear and in some scenarios nausea shortly after waking up or during sleep. There is no conclusive research that has identified the source of sleep panic attacks; it is mostly connected to anxiety disorder. There are other numerous medical conditions that are associated with panic attacks, this include sleep apnea among others. The condition is treatable with a medication and self-care.


Sleep panic attacks falls into two categories, in both situations, they can be very frightening. The first type involves a scenario where a person wakes up when she or he is about to have panic attack or in the middle of an attack. The heart will beat very fast and there will be other features such as anxiety, disorientation, confusion, disconnect ion from reality and depression. The second category is one that a person experiences the attack consciously while they are sleeping. This has similar symptoms to the previous version and others features that are associated with this kind of attack include head pain, tooth grinding, and a feeling of pressure in the ears. In most scenarios, the person is not aware of the event or struggles to wake up.

Possible Causes

The cause of nocturnal panic attack is not well understood, however the cases of this condition are more common to people with anxiety than others and there is a connection to the condition. One theory that has been put forth by scientists is an increase in the level of carbon dioxide, this causes the victims to hyperventilate or have fear in some instances. The increase on the level of carbon dioxide leads to a suffocation sensation thereby increasing the chances of developing anxiety and fear. There are other medical causes of the problem , myoclonic twitches, heartburn, and sleep apnea are some of the medical conditions that aggravates nocturnal anxiety and panic attack. People with breathing problems while sleeping may often have a feel of suffocation and fear therefore inducing panic attack. Moreover, the person with severe heartburn may feel that he or she is scared and thereby experience panic attack. A Myoclonic twitch is a situation where the muscles jerk abruptly and most victims are scared and may run into panic attack at night.

There are some cases where the body is responding to fight or flight response during sleep, the changes in sleep cycle may trigger panic attack and in most scenarios, nocturnal panic attack occurs during the second stage of sleep, mainly before deep sleep. The disorder is not connected to dreams and mostly occurs during rapid eye movement sleep, some people who have frightening dream may experience attack when they wake up.


Treatment of the condition is variable depending on the patient and the symptoms depicted, many people heal by changing sleep patterns, self-care, and medication. Common self-care methods include understanding the symptoms and panic attack. There are various methods that can help reduce panic attack symptoms such as using an anxiety depressions, meditation, breath control, and getting into regular sleep. Moreover, for people who have depression tranquillizers and antidepressants are vital in reducing the episodes. Psychotherapy is recommended on some instances, 50%-70% of people with anxiety disorder will experience panic attack therefore should be under medication.

Resources For More Information, Great Books and Articles About The Topic

WebMD- Anxiety

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