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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22867
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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Do panic attacks happen during sleep? I have awaken from sleep

Customer Question

Do panic attacks happen during sleep? I have awaken from sleep and just started trembling and shaking uncontrollably. My husband thinks its a panic attack, because we are in foreclosure, I recently lost my job(after sinking so much money into student loans for taht field of study) and many other factors. I just don't see how it could be since i was asleep when it started.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Is this the first time this has happened and how long were you trembling and shaking?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


No, this is the second episode. The first happened about two months ago and they last about an hour.

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
And you don't have a problem with anxiety/panic attacks in the daytime?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


No, I am under a lot of stress, but this happened at night. Although 17years ago I had panic attacks.

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
OK. Yes it is possible in a way to have a panic attack associated with sleep. Or rather, a nightmare that might cause one to awaken feeling panicky, but unless someone were predisposed to panic attacks, just awakening from a nightmare wouldn't cause an hour long problem. It could be that your recent stress may have triggered the return of your panic attacks and just the nightmare itself set one off. Another possibility would be sleep apnea which can cause someone to awaken with a sort of impending doom feeling so if these continue I would consider having you undergo a sleep study.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are the causes of sleep apnea? Is it something to be concerned about? Is it treatable? Because I didn't have nightmares before either way I will be either time.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.

It's basically from to much relaxation of the posterior pharynx muscles causing an obstruction of the airway. Most people with sleep apnea are snorers and overweight, but not all. Tonsils and adenoids can sometimes be the cause too. A sleep study looks for periods where the airway is closed and the oxygen saturation in the blood drops. Many people with sleep apnea don't actually wake up and think they sleep soundly through the night. As for treatment, if it's a tonsil/adenoid problem then they need to be surgically removed. Otherwise a CPAP machine-- a device with a mask that fits over the nose and mouth at night--is used to give constant positive airway pressure to the upper respiratory passages to keep the throat open.

Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22867
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Dr. Chip and 8 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Does MS patients have these symptoms? Does it occur more at night?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.

Usually the symptoms are more of numness and tingling, some muscle tremor, weakness, and balance problems and not just at night.

Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22867
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Dr. Chip and 8 other Health Specialists are ready to help you

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