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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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I am a 52 year old male suffering from anxiety to full

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I am a 52 year old male suffering from anxiety to full blown mini-panic attacks. They only occur when I first attempt to sleep. And of course, they build on themselves in a negative cycle. My primary physician and psychiatrist basically agree that this began after an ultralight accident (bad landing, ER, but nothing broken). Major road rash put me on pain killers for two weeks, so neither are sure if the cause was due to mini-PTSD or withdraw from pain killers (association with taking meds just before lying down to sleep. The other strange aspect is that I only once had a panic attack prior to this where a bad bout of hayfever and OTC meds had me feeling that I was suffocating/dread/dying, etc. So currently, before going to sleep, I'm already abscessing about clearing my throat & nasal passages with then starts the anxiety, and hyper vigilance, hence awakeness. Tried Ambien for a week, but heard about emotion crutches. Tried laymen's CBT, and letting the event occur and pass, but mixed results. If I completely stay off alcohol, things SLOWLY get back to normal, but 2 weekend days of moderate drinking put me back to square one. So I'm now committed to staying away from alcohol, excercise, no caffeine after 3, etc., but not sure how to get off this hyper vigilance destructive pattern of sleep fretting. Any advice would be appreciated, esp a definitive book on the topic. Any response would BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!!
Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. Let me say I can imagine how worried and anxious you must have been about your condition. It sounds like you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. It is important for you to stick to your treatment. But you may need to know what may work for your condition.
A combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy may be effective for anxiety and panic attacks. Also, various relaxation and stress reduction techniques may be helpful. As you may have tried,
Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT) is a most effective therapy for anxiety. CBT for anxiety consists of Self-Monitoring, Relaxation strategies, Exposure treatments, Cognitive therapy. If your panic attacks persist, you may try Panic Control Treatment (PCT)and Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for your condition. Behavior interventions are In vivo exposure with response prevention (flooding). Cognitive interventions are Cognitive therapy, relaxation, breathing retraining. In Panic Control Treatment (PCT), you may be exposed to the interoceptive (bodily) sensations associated with panic attacks (e.g., the client exercises in a therapy session to increase his/her heart rate). PCT is effective 80%-100% of cases and associated with low relapse rate. I recommend PCT. Medications such as SSRIs, TCAs, and benzodiazepines may be used to reduce the symptoms. So you may benefit from seeing a psychotherapist who specializes in PCT, CBT and Anxiety/Panic attacks. The book Worry Trap by Dr. Lejune may be helpful to manage your anxiety. You may also check the link from ANXIETY DISORDERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA( for resources. You may also find a specialist in your area from the link - (
Additionally, Biofeedback may help you. It can be classified as a self-control technique since it involves having a client to learn to modify his or her own behaviors and is based, like many other self-control procedures, on the principle of operant conditioning. The biofeedback may work for physical pain. Please contact - The association for Psychophysiology and Biofeedback ( for resources and to find a provider in your area.
You may try some or all of the following to reduce the intensity and frequency of anxiety and panic attacks - 1. Exercise moderately, but regularly, 2. Eat healthy but delicious meals, 3. Regularize your sleep cycle, 4. Don't drink to excess or abuse drugs, 5. Spend some time every day in play, 6. Develop recreational outlets that encourage creativity, 7. Distance yourself from destructive situations or people, 8. Practice mindfulness meditation, or walk, or an intimate talk, every day, 9. Allow yourself to feel pride in your accomplishments, 10, Listen to compliments and expression of affection, 11. Build and use a support system, 12. Pay more attention to small pleasures and sensations, 13. Challenge yourself, 14. Avoid unstructured time, 15. Practice good personal hygiene, 16. Avoid depressed self-absorption, 17. Cultivate your sense of humor. Also, yoga, meditation, Acupuncture, Guided imagery, and massage therapy may help. Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
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