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What Are the Best Treatments for Sleep Panic Attacks?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sleep panic attacks are very similar to regular panic attacks, but these wake a person up with feelings of intense fear. These types of panic attacks can be very confusing and frightening. Treating any underlying mental or physical disorders is an essential part of treating sleep panic attacks. Certain medications and relaxation techniques also can help.

Individuals experiencing sleep panic attacks often have an underlying problem that they may or may not be aware of. Individuals with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example, often have these panic attacks, along with regular panic attacks. Sleep apnea may also be a possible cause of these panic attacks. Individuals with this disorder are unable to breath for a few moments at night, which can often wake them up in the middle of the night.

Therapy is often recommended for individuals with psychological disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most popular types of therapy. Some medications may also be necessary for individuals suffering from sleep panic attacks.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are some of the most common medications prescribed for panic attacks. Sedatives, or tranquilizers, may also be necessary for those suffering from sleep panic attacks. These will often help calm and relax a patient so he can get the rest he needs at night. Other medications, like beta blockers, can also help slow down a racing heart, which is a common symptom of most panic attacks.

Relaxation techniques can also help a person suffering from sleep panic attacks. These should be done throughout the day as well as just before bed. Deep-breathing exercises and meditation are a couple good examples of relaxation techniques. By slowly breathing in and out, a person may be able to relax his body and mind enough to sleep through the night.

In the event that a sleep panic attack does occur during the night, the sufferer should try to remain as calm as possible. Breathing exercises may help at this time. Some individuals go for a walk and get some fresh air upon waking up after a panic attack. If a person takes sedatives to calm down after a panic attack, these should be kept close to the bed, along with a bottle of water.

Eating or drinking certain things before going to sleep may also cause some people to have these types of panic attacks. Caffeine and alcohol are two of the biggest culprits, since these can disrupt sleep. Reducing stress during the day as well as before bed can also help prevent these panic attacks. Some individuals may opt to take stress-management classes to reduce stress.

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Discussion Comments

By anon184105 — On Jun 07, 2011

Regarding your statement about the use of beta blockers, I learned while living in Germany that beta blockers should not be used by people who suffer or who have suffered from depression.

After being treated in a German hospital for panic attacks, I was given beta blockers to stop my heart from racing and almost jumped out of a window. I thought I was going crazy. It was the beta blockers.

I discharged myself from the hospital and started seeing an alternative med physician. She became very angry after learning what I was given, and the fact the hospital never asked if I had a history of depression.

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