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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5805
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have an anxiety disorder stemming from a near suffocation

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I have an anxiety disorder stemming from a near suffocation incident, as I am a sleep apnea sufferer. This was ten years ago and althoygh I have tried many treatments I am unable to sleep/rest without medication. I now have possible ME/migraine syndrome which is making life very difficult as I have to rest much more which makes me more anxious. This seems a continuous circle and i feel the anxiety is probably causing the migraines and or ME
Any help would be appreciated
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Has anyone diagnosed you with PTSD from the trauma you suffered? Do you have any other mental health symptoms?


Thank you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No I have suggested this to various doctors but they seem to dismiss it as if I have just some difficulty in going to sleep.


I am very sound mentally otherwise, although having had the problem so long does get me down. I am sure everything is connected with running all the time on a high output of adreneline as I am constantly having physiclal not mental symptons because I am so tired all the time. However I am actually a very confident person and there is nothing really that I would be afraid of doing or trying.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information.


If you have only seen doctors, then you may not have been diagnosed correctly. Doctors are wonderful for treating physical disorders and they can give medications for mental health related problems, but they are not trained in how to diagnose mental health disorders. Only a psychiatrist, psychologist or Master's Level therapist can do that for you. So your first step might be to seek out a therapist to provide you with an assessment and accurate diagnosis. That way you can rule out PSTD and at least know what you are dealing with.


Part of your anxiety may be the lack of sleep. When you don't get enough sleep, it can lower your ability to cope with your emotions. You may have anxiety from the suffocation incident, but you might not feel it as strongly as you do now if you could get more sleep.


Being almost suffocated is a very traumatizing experience. You most likely are anxious from the near death experience. Having anxiety from this would be normal. There are ways to address your anxiety so you can control it and feel more relaxed. This may also help you reduce your migraines and get more sleep.


By learning more about anxiety, you can use what you know to calm yourself and overcome your symptoms. Here are some resources to help you:


The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.


Also, understanding how anxiety works can help you reduce your symptoms or eliminate them all together. Anxiety is caused by your thoughts which are causing your mind to think your in danger. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline causes the symptoms you feel. It is much like after you have had a bad scare like a car accident. Your body releases the adrenaline and you feel unreal, your legs turn to jelly, you have trouble thinking and your body may feel it's tingling. You just don't notice it as much because your focus is on what is going on around you. Except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel.
Your thoughts are probably always on alert, so is your body. This may be why you feel anxious.

Medications are helpful to ease the symptoms but they vary in their effectiveness. Each person has their own body chemistry and what works for one may not work for another. Also, once you take medication for a while, your body becomes accustomed to it and you either need an increase in dosage or you need to try a new medication.

Anxiety is easy to treat with therapy and self help. In therapy, you learn to pay attention to what you are thinking to make yourself anxious. The therapist then can help you change your thoughts and therefore how your body reacts to your thoughts, called Cognative therapy. You also can learn about how to let yourself float through your anxiety thereby gaining more control over how you feel.

Using relaxation techniques can help as well. One is called Progressive Muscle Relaxation. It can help you reduce your anxiety and also help you sleep better:


By seeing a therapist and using self help, you should be able to reduce or eliminate your anxiety and feel much better.


I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Kate

Thanks for informatioous

I have tried a lot of the advice given on sites you have mentioned. The trouble is I don't have anxious thoughts when I go to bed but if I dont go to sleep after a while the physicalthings begin eg muscles tensing burning sensation on skin. You can only practise relaxing for so long, because that is what sleep needs - for you to relax. If I get up as you could move away from another fear and have another try a little later on that would be fine if i didn't need to sleep, but trying the relaxation techniques mean I have gone a week or more without sleep?

Do you think hypnosis would work. I have tried hypnotherapy ?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

You're welcome!


It sounds like your fear might be based on more than just anxiety. You may have a deeper fear that needs addressed in therapy. The physical symptoms you are having along with the fear could be PTSD. In that case, hypnosis might work for you, as well as therapy for PTSD.


Hypnosis is very similar to relaxation in that it addresses both the physical and mental together. Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation where your mind is more focused and the connection between your emotions and thoughts are more clear. Hypnosis cannot cause you to do anything against your will. What it can do it help you to focus on specific areas of your life with more clarity and help you address the issues you feel are part of the trauma.


If you choose to try hypnosis, be sure you find a trained professional who has experience in PTSD and anxiety. Make sure you see a hypnotherapist (a professional)rather than a hypnotist. The two are very different. That way, you can ensure you get the best care.



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