Sleep Panic Attacks
Behind sleep panic attacks is some form of anxiety disorder. As I’ve said in other posts, understanding anxiety is an important part of conquering panic attacks.
Anxiety disorders affect millions of people across the world and include disorders like social phobia, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. The first step if you think that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, is to see you doctor right away.
Its worth bearing in mind that there are a number of symptoms associated with anxiety disorders that can also be caused by other medical conditions. Its easy just to focus on the “mental health” aspects of panic attacks and anxiety. Ensure you get a full physical check up.
Talk Therapy – Counselling
There are then a number of treatment options that are utilised to overcome anxiety disorders. Talk therapy, normally called counselling but also known as psychotherapy, is quite common in the UK.
The term counselling is often tossed around with some contempt by the media, but can be very useful for some people. I will come back to it in future, but it involves the counsellor using a reflective style of talking to help you explore issues in your life (both current and past). They don’t tell you the answers, but help you find them yourself.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT, has become increasingly more available and favoured for treating both depression and anxiety. Rather than help you explore issues, as in counselling, it tries to look at your unhelpful thinking patterns that trigger your behaviour. Again this warrants a more in depth exploration in future.
Medications can be a step in the right direction for treating anxiety disorders. Meditation can help to block certain over-active inhibitors in the brain that may be causing your anxiety disorder. They can also treat the symptoms that you find unbearable.
Unfortunately the minor tranquillizers that used to be commonly used to treat anxiety proved highly addictive. Coming off these medications caused awful symptoms themselves, and in any case the effectiveness wears off over time. But in extreme cases they may still be used on a short term basis.
More common today are the modern anti depressants. Often there may be an overlap between symptoms of anxiety and depression. People suffering from depression may have associated anxiety or agitation (not always). Some anti depressants are better than others at treating anxiety symptoms.
Its worth stressing that, in my opinion, medication is seldom the answer for sleep panic attacks. And if, like me, you get prescribed sleep medication then your doctor is missing the point. We don’t have problems getting to sleep!
Many also try non-traditional forms of treatment for you anxiety disorders. Some people can control their bodies simply by learning meditation and doing yoga. Others go for acupuncture or hypnosis. I cannot speak from experience on any of these, but I do recompensed looking at your lifestyle in general to see how much stress you are absorbing in your day to day activities.