Can someone have a panic attack while sleeping?
Answer by Craig N. Sawchuk, Ph.D., L.P.
Night (night) panic attacks can occur with no apparent trigger and wake you up from sleep. As with a panic attack during the day, sweating, fast heart rate, tremors, shortness of breath, heavy breathing (hyperventilation), blushing or chills and a sense of impending demise may occur. These signs and symptoms are quite alarming and may mimic those of a heart attack or other serious illness.
Although nocturnal panic attacks usually last only a few minutes, it may take a while for you to calm down and get back to sleep after you have one. People who have nocturnal panic attacks are also prone to panic attacks during the day.
It is not known what causes panic attacks. Fundamental factors can be genetics, stress and certain changes in the way parts of your brain work. In some cases, an underlying condition, such as a sleep disorder, can cause panic symptoms and symptoms. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and whether you should have a possible underlying condition test.
Treatment – psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) or medication or both – can help prevent panic attacks and reduce their intensity when they occur.
Release date: 2015-01-31