How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Elliott, LPCC, NCC Your Own Question
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
40019946
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Elliott, LPCC, NCC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

About a year ago I started having panic attacks in my bed.

Customer Question

About a year ago I started having panic attacks in my bed. I then had horrible insomnia for like a year. I fixed that by falling asleep to the TV on the couch with my husband. Same pillow, same blanket, same position. He then wakes me up when he's ready for bed and I trek upstairs to our bed with him. It has worked great and I have no desire to change! I think because I've taken the stress off of having to fall asleep. I still haven't been able to work myself up to falling asleep in my bed without the couch first. Now my work is requiring me to travel. If I can't fall asleep in my own bed how am I going to do it in a hotel? Does anyone have any advice on how to overcome this? The thing is I don't care that I'm falling asleep on the couch first because at least I'm sleeping again!!!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 3 years ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have done a remarkable job in managing your panic attacks and anxiety driven insomnia, without the use of medications.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Because you will be in a new location outside of the home, you may be experiencing or may experience further anxiety called Agoraphobia, which is a fear of having panic attacks in public or away from the safety of home.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If this is an unknown factor - whether or not you will have panic attacks or anxiety or insomnia when on your trip, at the hotel, I would recommend going to your family physician and explaining your situation, and asking for some medication that you can take which will help you to stop panic and to sleep soundly.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What I have in mind is clonazepam (Klonopin) which is an antianxiety medication that is particularly helpful in stopping panic attacks and can stay in your body long enough to guarantee a good night's sleep.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The only alternative to this is also a benzodiazepine called alprazolam (Xanax) which will also stop panic attacks but will not stay in your system as long.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

When used occasionally, on an AS NEEDED basis, these drugs will work quite well to stop panic attacks and allow you to sleep.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is the most appropriate medication and will work right away.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I do not recommend starting an antidepressant or using other medications that you will have to use all of the time. You are prone to anxiety and this, in my estimation, is the best solution - for occasional use.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Consult with your physician.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I wish you a successful trip and great outcome in all ways.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Actually I'm on clonazepam at night. I think I've just made it a routine to fall asleep to the TV at night. Now I just need advice on how to do that in my own bed and outside of my home. I don't want to stop travelling just because I'm afraid I can't sleep somewhere.

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 3 years ago.
Dear friend,

You will have begin to wean yourself from the couch routine. The best way to do this is to set your bed up with bolster pillows so that you can emulate the couch and continue to watch the TV but in your bed.

You have to break the habit in stages. There is no other way to do it. This has become an obsessive habit, which is a form of anxiety as well.

You can start out on the couch but move to the bed after a short time, before you fall asleep.

If the TV disturbs your husband's sleep then try this with a spare bed. You must begin to eliminate the couch.

If you have trouble doing this on your own then I suggest you find a therapist who works with anxiety issues and habit reversal techniques.

You can also do this on your own using this wonderful and effective workbook.

Product Details

The Habit Change Workbook: How to Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones by James Claiborn and Cherry Pedrick R.N.



Just proceed from lesson to lesson, applying what you learn daily to your situation and you will soon see positive changes in your life.

My best wishes for success,

Elliott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

im in no rush to fix this. We dont have our first cacation until next summer. We just had a baby. So should i wait a few months to start? Do i do it every day? So basically use the same pillow and blanket in bed. Go up to watch TV. Do the same routine I do on the couch. My husband goes to bed late and he doesn't mind the TV. Do I do this every night moving forward or just a few times a week? Do I get up if I'm anxious and go back to the couch?

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 3 years ago.
Dear friend,

Now is always the best time to start on a long term project. When you are trying to change a habit you have to try to break the old one so start soon.

If you can get those pillows that you put up on your bed to help prop you up so you can sit like you are on the couch. Then use your same blanket and pillow. Do the exact same routine. Make sure you take your clonazepam too at night.

Try to resist going back to the couch unless you feel you are having panic attacks. Try to get used to the discomfort and tell yourself that it is just anxiety and you can overcome it.

Because you are a new mother, that might keep you up as well.

I urge you to get that book: The Habit Change Workbook. It will be like having an expert at your side.

I hope that you have found this information helpful and would be most grateful for positive feedback for my concern an help.

I wish you great success in curing this habit and shall keep your family in my prayers.

Warm regards,

Elliott