Nocturnal Panic Attacks: The Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments!

by Glenn Maxwell

Nocturnal Panic Attacks

What Is A Nocturnal Panic Attack

If you suffer from a nocturnal panic attack, there are a few things you can do to help yourself overcome these attacks. First of all, you should get out of bed. You might have an anxiety attack or be unable to sleep, so it’s important to get out of bed as soon as possible. Second, try to shift your focus. Do some yoga stretches, listen to music, or read inspirational books. Ironing is also a great way to shift your focus.

Third, you should consider seeking professional help. You can discuss your symptoms with your GP. Alternatively, you can contact Priory, which has a team of mental health experts. Various medications can help you overcome these attacks. But, whatever you choose to do, make sure to seek help right away. It may be helpful to use nocturnal panic attacks medication or cognitive behavioural therapy to control your symptoms. If these options don’t work, you can also try therapy, which helps you retrain your brain to avoid panic attacks.

People with nocturnal panic attacks tend to show more signs of depression and psychiatric disorders. They are a type of panic attack in which a person wakes up suddenly and experiences fear, sweating, and difficulty breathing. Interestingly, more than 70% of people with panic disorder also suffer from nocturnal panic attacks. While these attacks usually last for a few minutes, they can take a long time to recover fully.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Nocturnal Panic Attack?

Symptoms Of A Nocturnal Panic Attack

Nocturnal panic attacks are frightening events that happen while someone is asleep. It’s like having a nightmare but worse. You feel unsteady, shaken, and have a pounding heart. You may feel as if you’re about to drown and can’t breathe. The attack may also cause you to feel depressed, uneasy, or even desire to die. Nocturnal panic attacks can be disorienting, but they are manageable.

Although nocturnal panic attacks are similar to night terrors, the symptoms are completely different. Typically, sufferers will experience intense emotions, sweating, and shortness of breath. They may feel like they’re going to pass out in their sleep, or worse, be unable to breathe. It’s not easy to identify a nocturnal panic attack, and the symptoms may be different from one person to the next. Luckily, there are treatments for nocturnal panic attacks.

What Causes Nocturnal Panic Attacks?

Even though these attacks are uncomfortable and rarely cause physical harm, these episodes are a source of great worry. Some physical causes of nocturnal panic attacks include breathing problems. Hyperventilation and heart palpitations are common symptoms. Again, seeing weird dreams cause panic attacks as well.

If you are unsure of the exact cause of your nocturnal panic attacks, you can consult your GP or contact a professional therapist. Taking action to reduce the severity of your panic attacks is the best way to reduce the frequency of recurrence and avoid embarrassing situations. You should seek treatment immediately, as you may be suffering from a panic disorder or social phobia. This is usually easily treatable with psychotherapy or medication.

Treatment Of Nocturnal Panic Attacks

If you suffer from nocturnal panic attacks, you can find relief with the right treatment. The key is to prevent these attacks from happening again. To prevent them, adopt healthy sleep habits and limit exposure to electronic screens. Exercise and eating right can also help you relax and reduce the likelihood of a panic attack at night. Finally, you can seek medical attention if you have any underlying medical conditions, which can trigger these attacks.

Consult A Healthcare Expert

If you suspect you are suffering from a nocturnal panic attack, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the cause of your anxiety and provide treatments. Therapy can teach you strategies to deal with triggering events and prevent attacks during the day. As you begin to develop a strategy to prevent nocturnal panic attacks, you can also work to prevent them entirely.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

There are several approaches to treating panic attacks. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way to combat the disorder. It involves practising new behaviours and understanding what triggers an attack. By understanding the triggers, you can reduce the intensity of the attacks. Other forms of therapy may include practising being in the trigger situations (such as elevators) before an attack. These methods may be in addition to prescribed medications. A physician may also recommend behavioural therapy to help you cope with panic attacks.


Medication is another common treatment for nocturnal panic attacks. Antidepressants work by changing chemicals in the brain that trigger anxiety. Benzodiazepines and other antidepressants are prescribed for short-term use and can help you overcome anxiety and panic attacks. However, these medications can only help you temporarily and may need to be continued over weeks to get the full effect. For those with substance use disorders, other medications may be prescribed.

While the treatment for nocturnal panic attacks is the same as that for daytime attacks, some patients have found relief with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which reframes the way your brain processes thoughts and emotions. You may need to use medication for a short period to combat your symptoms and get back to sleep more quickly. If you’ve tried everything, and still can’t fall asleep, consult a medical professional.

The Final Word

During a nocturnal panic attack, it’s easy to wake up in the middle of the night. The symptoms can be so intense that a first-time sufferer might believe they’re having a heart attack. But as it grows in frequency and severity, it can become a life-threatening condition. A person suffering from nocturnal panic attacks might experience hypnic jerks and involuntary muscle sensations during light sleep.

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