Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Having Sleep Panic Attacks Can Do More Than Just Interrupt Your Night's Peace!


Panic attacks are a great nuisance when they occur during the day, but when their onset becomes the routine of every night, the problem escalates to a completely new level altogether. After all sleep is the time when your body and mind both get their much needed rest. Hence, suffering from sleep panic attacks is a matter which needs to be dealt with on an immediate basis since the damage they do to your health is considerable.

In very rudimentary terms, sleep panic attacks are the result of the same anxiety and stress which are a constant and perpetual part of your regular day. However, before you can start treatment for sleep panic attacks, it is important to be sure that your nocturnal episodes are not something other than a sleep panic attack. This is because the symptoms experienced during a sleep panic attack are very similar to another medical condition known as sleep apnea in which a person's lungs do not receive their required amount of air during sleep. Hence, if you do begin to experience symptoms of a panic attack during your sleep, make sure you do not write off your problem as 'simply a nightmare'. Instead make an appointment with your doctor or physician and let him/her get to the bottom of things.

If your physician declares your nocturnal episodes to be a case of sleep panic attacks, he/she should analyze your lifestyle and try and bring to light factors which could be increasing stress levels. Generally speaking, you would be asked to avoid the intake of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine in the latter part of the day as all three products augment stress and anxiety levels. In addition, you would also be discouraged from partaking in any hardcore exercise routine in the evenings. Contrarily you would be encouraged to have a cup of herbal tea before sleeping as studies show that herbal tea is a great relaxer. Similarly, you would also be recommended to have sex before you sleep as the endorphins produced in your mind during intercourse act as natural relaxers that promise a solid sleep.

In addition to these lifestyles changes, your fight against sleep panic attacks may take on the form of medications, behavioral therapy or a combination of the two. Remember that panic attack medication needs to be taken with great care and caution as these drugs are infamous for causing side effects and are addictive in nature. What's more is that these drugs only provide a solution whilst they are being used. Thus they can't be considered the most long term cure as medications are unable to make permanent improvements.

On the other hand, behavioral therapy has proven to be a great cure for sleep panic attacks as the changes in behavior induced by therapy have real positive implications on a person's life. Behavioral therapy is generally of two types; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy. While CBT aims to modify a person's cognitions in an attempt to change behavior, Exposure Therapy hopes to alter a person's behavior by slowly and gradually exposing them to their fears in a safe and controlled setting.

Various studies show that both CBT and Exposure Therapy have very high success ratios. Therefore if you are a victim of sleep panic attacks, you must give behavioral therapy a try. Although therapy might take numerous sessions which are spread out over several weeks, the results are well worth the wait. During this time you might want to tell your friends and family about what you're going through because their support and comfort will make the whole process seem easier and more worthwhile. Above all though remain patient and steadfast to your treatment plan, and with time, you'll soon be having sweet slumber every night.

1 comment:

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