Panic attacks when you’re wide awake are bad enough, but night panic attacks are worse yet. Suddenly awaking with a pounding pulse and feeling of absolute fear is a terror no one should have to live with.
Although it’s rare for someone to have panic attacks only at night, it very common for people with anxiety attacks during the day to have night panic attacks as well. Most of the treatments of these nighttime episodes are the same as for panic attacks that occur during the day. As the daytime attacks decrease, the night time episodes cease to be an issue as well.
As with all panic attacks, it’s importanto have a complete medical evaluation to make certain don’t have medical problems causing your symptoms. For example, people can develop symptoms very much like a panic attack from thyroid or heart conditions.
Of particular importance for someone who has night time panic attacks is to be sure that they don’t have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a lot of different problems. In particular, sleep apnea can cause nighttime panic episodes. If sleep apnea is the cause of the panic then Treating the sleep apnea cures the panic attacks.
The only real way to know if you have sleep apnea or not is to stay overnight in a sleep lab.
Once you know your dealing with anxiety or a panic disorder you can go about getting it under control.
You can find a summary of the various treatment options available at Anxiety Treatment Options. Other pages on that site go into more details about the different options.
One problem with nighttime anxiety attacks is that they cause a loss of sleep and all the problems that brings. We all need a good night sleep to be at our best.
People often turn to sleeping pills to help with night time panic. These are poor a answer. They should be used only as a last resort under a physician’s direction medications isn’t as restorative as normal sleep.
I don’t really recommend it but some people do try taking Benadryl because of it’s mild sedative effect.
The best approach is to treat the underlying anxiety disorder and practice good sleep practices (no caffeine in the afternoon, avoid vigorous exercise before going to bed, keep regular hours etc), perhaps coupled with natural sleep aids. Natural sleep aids can be very effective without disrupting normal REM sleep.
You can find out about natural sleep aids that many people have used as part of their treatment of nighttime panic episodes at Nocturnal Panic Attacks Part 2 .
There’s a lot more information about the symptoms, diagnosis and different treatments for panic attacks and anxiety disorders on the site Panic Attack Release. It’s well worth checking out.
If you currently suffering from night panic attacks, hope this gives you some hope that you can get them under control. I hope this soon a thing of the past for you.