What Causes Panic Attacks At Night
The exact causes of nighttime panic attacks are not well understood by professionals. Some believe these attacks are the result of high stress levels, a genetic predisposition, or certain changes in brain functioning.2,4
Factors that may cause a person to have panic attacks while sleeping include:2,4
- Genetics. Having family members with a history of anxiety and panic can result in increased risk.
- Sleep disorders
- Underlying medical issues like thyroid problems
- Physiological issues in the brain that communicate that the body is awake when it is actually asleep
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders:
Anyone may experience these symptoms during stressful times. However, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience them in absence of stress, with more severe symptoms and/or with several symptoms appearing together.
- Inability to relax
- Rapid pulse or pounding, skipping, racing heart
- Nausea, chest pain or pressure
- Feeling a “lump in the throat”
- Feelings of dread, apprehension or losing control
- Trembling or shaking, sweating or chills
- Fainting or dizziness, feelings of detachment
- Thoughts of death
Common Panic Attack Myths
1 Panic attacks will lead to fainting: Fainting is caused by a sudden and significant drop in blood pressure. When youre anxious, your blood pressure rises. So, its extremely unlikely that you will faint when you have a panic attack.
2. Panic attacks will cause me to lose control: Although it can feel like you are out of control, you are still behaving in ways that show you are in control when you have a panic attack .
3. Panic attacks will cause me to go crazy: Panic attacks do not cause people to go crazy. No one has ever gone crazy from experiencing a panic attack. Never. Ever!
4. Panic attacks are really a heart attack in disguise: You are not having a heart attack. The chest pain you experience during a panic attack is the result of muscle tension . You are not going to suffocate. The feeling of not getting enough air is due to shallow breathing. You are still getting enough air to live.
What to Know About Panic Attacks
Don’t Miss: Does Depression Run In Families
Panic Attacks Are Scary Af
The first few times I had a panic attack, I was a child around 8 years old. I had no idea what was happening to me.
My heart was beating out of my chest, my hands felt clammy, and it was as though the world was spinning around me out of control. I couldnt really concentrate on anything what people were saying, what was happening next. Any thoughts I had were racing so fast I couldnt keep up with them. I felt angry and angsty, as though I was trapped in my body, clawing to get out.
And then I had no idea how it would pass. And Id kinda sorta forget about it until it happened again. When I was a child, I didnt have panic attacks very frequently, and when I had them, I had no name for them, no way to express what was happening.
When you are in the middle of a panic attack, it feels like youre dying, going crazy, or both. You cant breathe, you get dizzy, tingly, and lightheaded. Some people feel a constriction in their chest, almost like a heart attack. Others experience immediate digestive symptoms .
When I first experienced panic attacks, I felt like I was living inside a nightmare. It was the rawest terror I had ever felt.
I didnt tell a soul what Id experienced because I felt ashamed and too scared of what had happened to even talk about it.
It took me over a year to get help for any of it. I was a teenager but basically still a child, and I still had no clue what was happening to me.
I know I am.
Who Is Anointedsmile Supplements For
Recommended Reading: How Much Disability For Bipolar Disorder
How To Cope With Panic Attacks
When you have had a panic attack, you might worry about if – or when – you are next going to have one. This can make everyday tasks like going to school, leaving the house or meeting up with friends much more difficult. But remember, you are not alone and there is support available to help you get through this. If you are worried about when you are next going to have a panic attack, here are some things that can help you cope.
Speak to someone you trust. If you are feeling anxious or worried that you might have a panic attack, talk to friends or family. They can help you take your mind off what is making you feel panicked and support you to find the help you need. If you are struggling to say how you are feeling, you can always write your thoughts down or put them in notes on your phone if you are planning to speak to a teacher or your GP.
If you are worried about having a panic attack at school, college, or university, speak to a teacher or a member of staff. They can work with you to help you with things like finding a safe space to take some time out if you are feeling anxious or panicked.
If you feel like youre struggling to cope with everyday tasks, speak to your GP. They can listen to how you are feeling and suggest different types of treatments like therapy or counselling or medication for anxiety to help you tackle your panic attacks.
Sharing About Your Panic Attacks
You dont need to share with your boss or HR that you get panic attacks. However, if you choose to disclose your panic disorder, remember that you get to decide how much you want to share. Disclosure about your panic disorder may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act or equivalent, which means that your disclosure cannot be cause for dismissal or demotion. It also means that you may qualify for accommodations, such as taking more breaks. Check with a lawyer to see what applies in your area.
Although panic attacks can be distressing, the implications for how people see you at work can cause additional stress. The strategies described here can help you manage your symptoms and keep them from taking over your workday. Of course, dont neglect to seek out professional support and guidance as well if you need it.
Read Also: How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Depressed
Books For Kids With Anxiety
There are many books for kids with anxiety that can help them to understand and cope with anxiety. One of my favorite sources for books for kids with anxiety is Stress Free Kids.
Stress Free Kids is a company that was actually featured on Season 1 of Shark Tank. This company by Lori Lite utilizes childrens books to teach children lessons about dealing with their feelings and emotions. Here you can hear the Stress Free Kids Shark Tank pitch from Lori Lite herself:
These are excellent books for kids with anxiety, as they teach healthy coping mechanisms in an easy and understandable way.
Lori Lite has a nice variety of books to teach children coping mechanisms for a number of feelings and emotions. You can check these books out or buy them for yourself here.
Ways To Help Your Child Cope
Knowing what triggers an attack is the first step in attacking panic. Ask your child how they feel and what is making them feel anxious or stressed. Are there certain situations or places that cause them to feel panicky? This knowledge can help your child think about what they can do to cope with those situations.
During a panic attack, your child may feel like they are losing control, but there are things you can help them do to take back control and feel grounded again:
Read Also: How Do You Calm An Anxiety Attack
What Causes Passing Out Or Dizziness During A Panic Attack
Its common to feel lightheaded, dizzy, and unsteady during a panic attack. These symptoms make it difficult to focus your thoughts and relax, which unfortunately can just add to the anxiety.
It can help to know and remember: passing out during a panic attack is rare.
However, feeling like youre going to pass out is very common. Most often, someone having a panic attack will experience extreme and intense symptoms and become convinced that theyre surely going to pass out.What causes intense feelings of faintness during a panic attack? The answer can be somewhat complicated.
Some common causes why you might experience a panic attack passing out sensation:
How Long Does A Panic Attack Last
Typically symptoms will be at their worst within ten minutes. You might experience a panic attack over a longer period of time though or have several panic attacks over a short period of time.
If you’re having lots of panic attacks at very unpredictable times without an obvious cause, you might be diagnosed with panic disorder.
You May Like: Are Panic Attacks Bad For You
How Early Do Panic Attacks Start
Panic attacks can start at any age. In fact, its quite common for anyone, even children, to experience a panic attack or two. However, a person is not diagnosed with panic disorder until they start to experience recurring panic attacks and a fear of panic attacks for over a month.
Recurrent panic attacks are rare in children. Only about 1-3% of children and teens experience panic disorder on a regular basis. The average age on onset for panic disorder seems to be between 21.1 and 34.9 years.
Even when a child does have panic disorder, it can be difficult to diagnose. Oftentimes children with panic disorder go undiagnosed until later in life.
I Thought I Was Having A Heart Attack
Nicholas Ruggiero, 42, Dumfries, Va.
Police Sgt. Nicholas Ruggiero was packing his lunch for work one morning in October 2018 when his heart started dancing in his chest.
He felt hot and sweaty, and he couldn’t catch his breath. Then the room began to spin. As he fell to the floor, his wife called 911.
“I actually thought I was having a heart attack, Ruggiero remembers.
An ambulance rushed him to the hospital, where we underwent a full workup. Afterward, the doctor gave Ruggiero an unexpected diagnosis: He was having a panic attack.
“At first, I just started laughing, Ruggiero says. As a police officer, I’d been in a lot of stressful situations shooting scenes, homicides and I had never panicked. How could I be having a panic attack?
It turned out that the stress of his job had built up over time and triggered the attack. In the two years since, Ruggiero estimates he has had another 100 panic attacks, but medication and lifestyle changes have helped make them less frequent.
You May Like: How To Write A Panic Attack
How To Stop A Panic Attack
Panic attacks usually only last for several minutes. Sometimes an individual may overcome it on their own, but medical intervention is sometimes required. Doctors will commonly use benzodiazepines, a class of sedative drugs that are very effective in decreasing symptoms of a panic attack.
But there are also plenty of strategies for individuals with panic disorder to undertake to help prevent and overcome panic attacks on their own. Those include practicing deep breathing and other calming exercises.
If you continue to have panic attacks, you may be developing panic disorder. Its important to see your doctor to exclude other causes of the attacks, including thyroid disorders or heart problems, especially if you are experiencing chest pain, said Glatter.
Its important to see your doctor to develop a treatment plan that may include talk therapy, medications, or other techniques, he added.
Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
While many people experience just one or two panic attacks without further episodes or complicationsand theres little reason to worry if thats yousome people go on to develop panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks, combined with major changes in behavior or persistent anxiety over having further attacks.
You may be suffering from panic disorder if you:
- Experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks that arent tied to a specific situation
- Worry a lot about having another panic attack
- Are behaving differently because of the panic attacks, such as avoiding places where youve previously panicked
While a single panic attack may only last a few minutes, the effects of the experience can leave a lasting imprint. If you have panic disorder, the recurrent panic attacks take an emotional toll. The memory of the intense fear and terror that you felt during the attacks can negatively impact your self-confidence and cause serious disruption to your everyday life. Eventually, this leads to the following panic disorder symptoms:
Anticipatory anxiety Instead of feeling relaxed and like your normal self in between panic attacks, you feel anxious and tense. This anxiety stems from a fear of having future panic attacks. This fear of fear is present most of the time, and can be extremely disabling.
Also Check: How To Stop Ptsd Flashbacks
Panic Attack Case Example: Jennifer
Jennifer is 32 years old and has been diagnosed with OCD. Her obsessions tend to evolve around perfection wanting to do things perfectly and appear perfect to others. Jennifers job requires giving occasional presentations to her management team. When she has an upcoming presentation, she spends a significant amount of time re-checking her work and rehearsing because OCD tells her that its not okay to make a mistake or appear as if she doesnt know everything. Before the presentation, she starts to feel anxious and notices uncomfortable sensations in her body heart pounding, stomach churning, feeling light-headed and views those symptoms as a sign that the presentation is going to go terribly, which will lead to panic, and, ultimately, the loss of her job. She engages with that fear by giving it a lot of attention, desperately trying to get it to go away, which triggers even more physical arousal and then, she panics! Her heart rate jumps through the roof, she feels like she cant breathe, her mind becomes flooded with thoughts of going insane and dying. She tells her boss shes ill and someone has to cover for her. The panic symptoms eventually subside, but now Jennifer believes that these presentations are something to be feared and avoided because they trigger panic attacks.
What To Do During A Panic Attack
You may feel as though you are helpless during a panic attack and that your best option is to ride it out and wait until it passes.
Thankfully, there are a number of techniques that you can try while you are experiencing a panic attack that can help the episode pass faster or even stop completely.
Its important to remember that panic attacks are not inherently dangerous and that the unpleasant sensations are merely temporary.
This knowledge alone can help you to get through a panic attack without becoming overwhelmingly frightened or anxious:
1. Focus on your breathing
When you hyperventilate, you begin to lose control of your response to the situation and increase the likelihood of experiencing other panic attack symptoms such as lightheadedness and tingling in the lips and fingers.
It can be helpful to focus on taking slow, deep breaths as you breathe in for three seconds, hold for two and then release the breath for another three seconds. This will calm your mind and can often stop a panic attack in its tracks as well as reducing the chances of experiencing additional symptoms.
2. Practice mindfulness
A common symptom of a panic attack is the feeling of being disconnected from yourself or the situation, and you may even feel as though you are simply observing the experience as opposed to actually living it. This can feel extremely disconcerting and may cause you to feel even more panicked and anxious.
3. Remind yourself that it will pass
4. Picture a relaxing place
You May Like: What Is The Treatment For Anxiety
What Causes Anxiety Attacks And Why Are They So Scary
ByJohn Cielo | Submitted On June 27, 2009
Once you know what causes anxiety attacks, you’ll be more able to address the underlying conditions and eliminate them. Anxiety attacks are terrifying, and those who have never suffered an anxiety attack can never really appreciate just how scary they can be. You’ll discover the main causes and symptoms of anxiety attacks here.
Before we consider what causes anxiety attacks, we’ll look at the symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety attacks are many, but the most common seem to be…
- a fear of something bad going to happen
- a feeling of being detached from your surroundings
- tightness across the chest
- heart thumping in the chest
- tingling fingers and toes
You may not experience all of them during an anxiety attack, but you will experience several. One of the most common feelings during an attack is the real belief that you’re having a heart attack. I can tell you it’s a really scary experience!
So what causes anxiety attacks and why are they so scary? Anxiety attacks can happen without warning, but they don’t happen without a reason. Something else has been going on in the background and some sort of ‘trigger’ has then sparked-off the attack. That ‘something else in the background’ is general anxiety, i.e. higher-than-normal levels of daily anxiety. And the trigger is usually a highly stressful event or situation, which may even have occurred some time before the actual attack.