What causes panic attacks while sleeping?


Quick Answer

The causes of night-time panic attacks are not exactly known nor are their triggers, according to the Mayo Clinic. Genetics, pre-existing sleep disorders, stress or changes in brain activity may contribute to episodes during sleep.

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What causes panic attacks while sleeping?
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Full Answer

Symptoms of night-time panic attacks are similar to those experienced during the day, with feelings of doom, feeling faint or dizzy, heart flutters, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, and perspiration. WebMD reports that a person experiencing a panic attack, during night or day, may feel symptoms similar to a heart attack, such as tingling hands and chest pains. Attacks generally last for less than 10 minutes, but those occurring during sleep may prevent people from falling back to sleep for longer periods of time.

Those who suffer from one panic have increased chances of suffering from additional attacks, according to WebMD. When attacks recur frequently, a person may be diagnosed with a panic disorder. Additionally, studies have found that frequent sufferers of panic attacks are more likely to have bouts of depression, have suicidal thoughts and struggle with substance abuse. Treatment options may include medication, cognitive therapy sessions or other mental health counseling, according to the Mayo Clinic. Antianxiety medications and beta-blockers may also be prescribed to alleviate symptoms.

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