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Sleeping Panic Attacks
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Sleeping Panic Attacks

Hello,
I am a 23 old male, married and working and studing full-time. Now i've had anxiety and panic attacks for a while and i can handle it pretty well, usually. When I feel like im going to get a bad attack I take a Zanax that my family doctor prescribed me.
But for the last two days i've had these bad anxiety attacks when i'm asleep. It happens whithing the first two hours of sleep and I wake up scared and that feeling stays with me for a while. The anxiety is centered around me getting a fatal disease, if that makes any sense. The first time I had already taken a Zanax before bed and last night i woke up drenched in sweat and feeling very anxious for no reason that I could remember. My question is: is this normal? I've never heard of anyone having panic attacks at night when they were asleep. SOme times when I'm really scared i wonder if i'm going insane. Any help at all would be appreciated. Thank you.
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242532_tn?1269553979
You sound like you are under a great deal of pressure to perform and have very little time for yourself or to process you own thoughts and feelings. Yes you can have anxiety at night, especially in your situation. YOu are using Xanax to control your anxiety...to manage it, not get to the source of it. Xanax is short acting..when it runs out, you can get a rebound effect..that is probably what is happening at night. Ask your doctor to prescribe klonopin..longer acting. Consider therapy or using the MasteringStress program above to help you sort out what is causing the anxiety and what you can do about it.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I suffer from "sleep attacks".  It seems my problems revolves around the summer time when my bodies temperature runs hot/cold.  I don't seem to have as much trouble during the winter months.  But with summer I want the windows open, and my husband has put in central air.  I have always had trouble sleeping in different places, such as in a tent or staying at someones house or motel.  I currently am having "sleep attacks".  They usually occur shortly after going to sleep, I wake in a panic and have to get up. I feel hot, but am cold.  I pace, and have a hard time laying down.  In the past years (I'm now 45), the doctors have prescribed different sleeping meds (Zanax seems familiar), now I'm taking over the counter sleep aids.  Sometimes they don't work.  I'm also taking Kava during the day to control the nervousness from not sleeping.  My Grandmother took sleeping pills her adult life.  I also have a Aunt that has a hard time sleeping, and my daughter is now starting to have trouble after her 3rd child.
I don't want to post a question, but have many.  I don't understand why these "sleep attacks" occur, as most the time I do fall asleep, but then sudden "fly" out of bed, and have woke many times at the window.  And I just want to get out.
Any advice or comments would be helpful.  So you should be at a little at ease knowing you are not the only one.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi
I can relate to your problem.  I have had panic attacks in the middle of the night as well.  I don't have them often, but when you do they are scarey.  I was having them before I started taking Xanax.  Now that I am taking 1/2 a pill before bed, I don't get them anymore.  I still wake up alot and I have those terrible "Monkey Jumps" where it feels like I have stopped breathing.  That tends to happen to me when I go to bed feeling anxiety or when I am not relaxed.   I also had terrible thoughts about illness, but it was about my eyes.  I was so worried that I would go blind or something terrible would happen to my eyes. (Probably because I had laser eye surgery last year) I just kept thinking about my eyes 24/7. It was driving me nuts.  I still worry about them, but not as much anymore.  I am not normally like that, I do worry, but that was insane to me. I really thought that I was going crazy.  If I look back now, my body was trying to tell me something.  Probably to slow down and take more time for myself.  I was doing too much and my body was re-acting to it.   I am better now that I have started Xanax, but I still feel lots of anxiety at certain times of the day.  Hang in there, the less the panic attacks scare you, the quicker they go away....
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 47 year old man and I have very similar problems.  Sometimes I wake up suddenly and could swear that someone is in my bedroom with me. As irrational as it may sound, I cannot seem to reconcile these feelings.  I have tried sleeping pills, herbal remedies, but nothing has seemed to work.  Sometimes these panic attacks are preceeded by a nightmare that someone is breaking into my home.  I am forced to get up every night just "make the rounds" in order to insure that my cottage is secure.  It is maddening.  I work in a very specialized field (nanotechnology), that requires me to be alert.  However, i have been losing so much sleep that I often make silly little mistakes.  Any suggestions?
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Avatar_n_tn
i feel better that im not alone. When I wake up sweating and scared i feel like im not normal and no one else understands how I feel. But it really does help to know that im not going crazy.
Thanks to everyone for their comments and of course to the Doctor for his invaluable advice. I have a few more comments if anyone else is listening. I found the comment about the "monkey jerk" very close to what i experience often. It happens before i fall in to deep sleep i suddenly gasp for air and wake up or sometimes i just jerk and wake up. I often wonder if it is related to a seizure. Does anyone else get that?
   And in response to the gut who works with nanotechnology i feel that perhaps you should talk to a therapist and try to invest a security system, might help you sleep at night.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also wake up with the "monkey-jumps" and severe panic attacks. I feel so jittery that I think I will go crazy. I feel nauseous and scared, for no reason. I cannot sleep well, nor can I take medication, so I'm constantly panicky and stressed anyway. Just yesterday, my daughter and I were taking a nap and my husband looked around the door at us...I felt him in my sleep and opened my eyes to look at him! Twice! It freaked him out, and I was unrested and freakin when I was woken. Why does this happen? What can we do?
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Avatar_n_tn
Go for a sleep study. Sounds like some of you have sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, numerous sleep disorders are possible. Also rebound effect from medicine could be responsible for some of you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I get this, too, and it has got to be from my Anxiety Disorder. I just had a 48 hour "holter moniter" and pushed the button every time I woke up in a panic with what I thought was a racing and pounding heart.   Yet my Internal Medicine dr. said my heart's holter moniter results were normal.  
  Hhmmmnn. Maybe this is somewhat normal and just annoying.  I'm not about to go try some more of doctor psych candy for it.  When it happens I just try breathing slow deep breaths in and exhale at the same speed (like my YOGA instructer says to relax). Then if I can't sleep, I go to the fridge (or I eat bananas - hoping to help my pathetic seratonin levels).
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

Wow, I had the exact same symptons except a little more severe, where my arms and legs go numb and I hyperventilate.  this ALWAYS happens the instant that I feel as if I am going to fall asleep. Right at that moment the attack begins, or sometimes in within 2 hours of sleep. The doc told me it had to do with abrubt transitions into early sleep stages that would trigger panic attacks. Possibly even abrupt transitions into REM (a form of epilepsy). there are many sleep tests you can take where they will hook you up to brain wave machines and monitor activity over night.  Perhaps this can help diagnose the condition so you can seek proper treatment and without other meds.  FYI, I also had my first very MAJOR attack at 23 in college while applying to med school.  Very stressful time.  
I'm 25 now and still have them frequently.  
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