Panic attacks can occur at any time, but they often occur during the night or upon waking in the morning. People who experience panic attacks in the morning may be especially frightened, because they can wake up in a state of extreme fear and distress. It is important to understand what causes panic attacks and how to manage them.
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a sudden and intense episode of fear and anxiety that can last for several minutes. During a panic attack, people may experience physical symptoms such as a racing heart, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and dizziness. They may also experience emotional symptoms such as fear, panic, and a sense of impending doom.
What Causes Panic Attacks Upon Waking?
There are several potential causes of panic attacks upon waking. One of the most common causes is a disruption in the body’s sleep-wake cycle. During sleep, the body’s production of cortisol (a stress hormone) is reduced. When a person wakes up suddenly, this can cause the body to produce too much cortisol, which can trigger a panic attack.
In addition, people who have anxiety or panic disorder may be more prone to panic attacks upon waking. People who suffer from these disorders may wake up with a heightened sense of fear and worry, which can lead to a panic attack.
Tips for Managing Panic Attacks Upon Waking
1. Practice Relaxation Techniques
One of the best ways to manage panic attacks is to practice relaxation techniques. These techniques can help to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of panic attacks. Examples of relaxation techniques include deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation.
2. Get Out of Bed
When a panic attack occurs upon waking, it can be tempting to stay in bed. However, this can make the panic attack worse. Instead, it is best to get out of bed and move around. This can help to reduce the physical symptoms of the panic attack and can help to shift your focus away from the fear and worry.
3. Talk to Someone
If you are feeling overwhelmed or scared, it can be helpful to talk to someone. Talking to a friend, family member, or mental health professional can help to reduce your fear and worry and can help you to manage the panic attack.
4. Avoid Stimulants
Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can increase anxiety and make panic attacks worse. It is best to avoid these substances, especially in the morning.
Panic attacks upon waking can be frightening, but there are steps that can be taken to manage them. By practicing relaxation techniques, getting out of bed, talking to someone, and avoiding stimulants, people can reduce the frequency and intensity of their panic attacks.