Sleep is an important part of our lives. We need it to rest, to recuperate and to be healthy. But sometimes, when we are sleeping, we can experience a terrifying event called a panic attack. A panic attack in sleep can be a frightening and distressing experience, but it is important to remember that it is not a dangerous medical condition and can be treated.
What is a Panic Attack in Sleep?
A panic attack in sleep is a sudden and intense feeling of fear or anxiety that occurs during sleep. It can be accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms such as racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, and dizziness. The attack can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. During the attack, the person may also experience a feeling of impending doom or a sense of being overwhelmed.
What Causes Panic Attacks in Sleep?
The exact cause of panic attacks in sleep is unknown, but there are several possible factors that may contribute to their occurrence. These include:
- Stressful life events
- Family history of anxiety or panic disorders
- Substance abuse
- Certain medications
- Sleep deprivation
- An underlying medical condition
What Are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks in Sleep?
The symptoms of a panic attack in sleep are similar to those of a panic attack during the day. These include:
- Feeling of intense fear or dread
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chills or hot flashes
- Feeling of being overwhelmed
The person may also experience a sense of impending doom or a feeling of being out of control.
How Are Panic Attacks in Sleep Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose a panic attack in sleep, a doctor will need to take a thorough medical history and do a physical exam. They may also order tests such as an electroencephalogram (EEG) to check for any abnormalities in the brain waves or a sleep study to monitor the person’s sleep patterns. Additionally, the doctor may ask questions about the person’s sleep habits, lifestyle, and family history.
How Are Panic Attacks in Sleep Treated?
The treatment of panic attacks in sleep depends on the underlying cause. Treatment may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Relaxation techniques
- Stress management
- Sleep hygiene
In some cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended.
Panic attacks in sleep can be a frightening and distressing experience. It is important to remember that they are not a dangerous medical condition and can be treated. If you are experiencing panic attacks in sleep, it is important to talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause and get the appropriate treatment.