A Symptom not a Condition
A panic attack while sleeping refers to the experience of a panic attack that is characterized by a sudden waking up with feeling of terror. This nightly panic disorder while sleeping is also termed a nocturnal panic attack. They usually take place during the early stages of a person’s sleep. There are a number of symptoms and responses that are associated with such panic attacks, including difficulties breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating and the feeling of intense fear. People who experience a panic attack while sleeping might also have them during the day, or they may occur as isolated incidents. In some cases, panic attacks while sleeping may be a symptom of an underlying physical condition.
Experiencing a Nightly Panic Seizure
Most people who have a panic attack while sleeping will experience difficulties with breathing, and irregular heartbeat. Breathing difficulties involve shortness of breath and can lead to hyperventilation, and a person’s heartbeat can become rapid. As a result of these symptoms, people may experience twitching or a numbness and tingling sensation of the arms and legs. Breathing difficulties may cause feelings of tightness in the chest or chest pain. Some people having a panic attack while sleeping feel like they are having a stroke or a heart attack, feelings which can be heightened due to a fear of dying.
Night time panic attacks can cause a person to suddenly wake up with the feeling that they are choking or suffocating, or cannot breathe in or out properly. They might make gagging sounds or flail about with theirs arms and legs.
Panic attacks while sleeping commonly result in heavy sweating in individuals. Panic attacks can also cause shaking. Sweating can be experience alongside other effects like changes in body temperature, including feeling hot or chilled, and flushing in the face.
A panic attack while sleeping is characterized by an intense feeling of fear or terror. This feeling of fear appears to have no rational cause, just as with daytime panic attacks. People suddenly wake up with an intense feeling of fear, which can last for up to 20 minutes, even after the physical effects of panic attacks have gone. Some people having panic attacks at night may feel disconnected from their bodies or from reality. Panic attacks while sleeping are not associated with nightmares, since the attacks occur in the earlier stages of sleep, before the deeper phases of sleep when people dream. Physical symptoms of panic attacks can trigger and/or heighten feelings of intense fear.
Psychiatric Disorder by Psychological Anxiety
Panic attacks while sleeping are usually caused by the same factors that are responsible for panic attacks during the day. They commonly occur in people with panic disorder. They are common in people who have panic attacks during the day, with about 50 per cent of people who have daytime panic attacks also experience nocturnal panic attacks. Panic attacks can be caused by psychological stress, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and medications. Physical conditions that may give rise to panic attacks while sleeping include partial epilepsy, sleep paralysis and sleep apnea.
As can be seen, panic attack sleeping disorders cause sudden waking, intense fear and bodily responses in people. A panic attack while sleeping is often experienced in people who have panic disorder, but may occur as a result of an underlying physical condition.
Related terms: Panic Attack Symptoms, Panic Attack in Sleep, Panic Attacks at Night, Panic Attacks Treatment, Panic Attacks While Driving, Heart Racing While Sleeping, Treating Panic Attacks Naturally, Gasping for Air While Sleeping