Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking

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movementforthebetter

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Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking
« on: November 06, 2018, 08:21:09 AM »
This one could almost be cross-posted to the sleep disturbances section. Sometimes it's nightmares I can identify as a cause, but usually not.

Has anyone else experienced anxiety/Panic Attacks that start during sleep or immediately upon waking? If so, have you successfully reduced their frequency or intensity at all? How? Is this a normal reaction to prolonged stress or part of the healing/processing journey?

It seems like these are coming up when I'm at my most vulnerable, and I have the least conscious control of my thoughts and reactions to them. It makes one of the hardest impacts on my quality of life. They have the power to ruin a day before it even begins. Any tips or insights are appreciated.

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Eyessoblue

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Re: Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2018, 11:59:13 AM »
Hi, unfortunately I have no tips but just wanted to say that I get this too, I wake up throughout the night feeling like Iím choking and canít swallow, have to have a large glass of water with me to ground myself, I also get nightmares that stay with me all day and I regularly have to stop and think was that my nightmare or did it really happen, itís horrible and I understand how you must be feeling.

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Deep Blue

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Re: Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2018, 12:13:15 PM »
Hey Movement,
I absolutely have this as well.  I have used a couple different strategies and some are more affective for me than others.  That said, we are all different and what may not have been helpful for me could possibly help someone else.

Things that didnít work:
-I put a coloring book next to my bed to color if I was scared to go back to sleep after waking up from a panic attack.

-I tried sleeping with a heating pad
- I tried to write about it if I woke up

What did finally work:
Itís still a process but I have learned that if I sit with the feelings in the day Iím less likely to get the sleep attacks. Itís hard and I need to feel safe when exploring those feelings but itís been the most effective for me.

Sending you support

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Kizzie

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Re: Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 07:08:34 PM »
Four years ago when I fell apart I was waking up with bad anxiety attacks in the middle of the night, cold sweats and even dry heaving.  Exactly as you wrote, It felt like I was most vulnerable then and the pain and fear would overwhelm me.

What helped me was medication, therapy and self-help aimed at trying to get the feelings up and out so they wouldn't intrude in my sleep or upon waking. And it all helped as I don't have the attacks anymore.  So, whatever helps to bring the trauma to the surface and process it (therapy, mindfulness, whatever works for you).   

Sending you care and support as I know how rough are anxiety attacks in the middle of night.   
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 07:19:16 PM by Kizzie »

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Boy22

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Re: Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 07:54:45 PM »
Hi, unfortunately I have no tips but just wanted to say that I get this too, I wake up throughout the night feeling like Iím choking and canít swallow, have to have a large glass of water with me to ground myself, I also get nightmares that stay with me all day and I regularly have to stop and think was that my nightmare or did it really happen, itís horrible and I understand how you must be feeling.
Forgive me for wondering, in my case the middle of the night choking was massive acid reflux up my oesophagus then spilling into my lungs. Could be worth checking in with your doctor.

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Mius

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Re: Anxiety/Panic Attacks during Sleep and upon Waking
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2020, 03:53:56 PM »
Wow you describe it exactly how it is!
Waking up in the middle or very beginning of an attack. I'm still not sure whats starting it. Meds have help some. Makes for a very unreliable life. I never know form one day to the next how i'll be. I find the more my insomnia acts up the worst the anxiety is. I've tried to explain it the best I can to doctors and I mostly get this blank stare.
Thank you very much for your share. It really helps knowing your not alone.