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Author Topic: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)  (Read 14664 times)

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Offline PunkMommy

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Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« on: July 19, 2009, 03:26:23 AM »
Hi,

I was diagnosed with anxiety in 2007, shortly after I had an emergency appendectomy for a rupture. Took meds until November 2008 with no issues. Decided to go off the meds and see how I did (and I did fine until I had a recent event that triggered it all again). Just this month (july) I started having a return of my anxiety with a NEW symptom... panic attacks. I'm now on 100mg Zoloft (again) and 25mg Vistaril (to help with the anxiety/panic attacks).

My thing is, I'm petrified to take my Vistaril because I also have asthma (which my doctor knows)... I'm worried I'll stop breathing. And during the day I FIXATE on my breathing, to the point of obsession. I think it's because I have asthma and I smoke (I know, BAD, I'm trying to quit now)... sometimes I do get a little wheezy but it usually goes away quickly. But after that happens then I freak out about my breathing!

Anyway, I've been doing well these past few days (no panic attacks during the day anymore, but I have been on the verge of having one in the past few days), but the last few nights I've woken up from sleep GASPING for breath! I literally feel like someone stuck something in my nose and mouth and I can't breathe! I have a feeling it's because I'm fixating so much on my breathing.

So, I have 2 questions.

1.) Does anyone else wake from their sleep gasping for breath and feeling like they can't breathe?

and

2.) What do you do to stop that from happening? I am currently self employed so I do not have health insurance (I'm thankful that I have a wonderful family doctor who charges a low fee to see him). I would see a psychiatrist except I can't afford to pay that out of pocket. So I need tips on things I should try to stop this from happening.

Thanks! :)
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Offline (HAWK)

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2009, 03:33:23 AM »
I have had were I'm almost asleep and I notice it and I will jolt awake feeling like I can't breath!  Also you could have (Sleep Apnea)its were the troht closes when sleeping,you should talk to you doc about a sleep test!  For the time being try sleeping on your side because if you do have SA it will help! :yes:     
Hope I helkped!
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"I will let this feeling of fear be as worse as it wants to be, I don't care anymore"

Offline PunkMommy

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2009, 03:40:02 AM »
I have had were I'm almost asleep and I notice it and I will jolt awake feeling like I can't breath!  Also you could have (Sleep Apnea)its were the troht closes when sleeping,you should talk to you doc about a sleep test!  For the time being try sleeping on your side because if you do have SA it will help! :yes:     
Hope I helkped!

I sleep on my side and that's when I get the gasping.
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Offline Breathless

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2009, 01:48:14 PM »
I have suffered a long time from jumping up catching my breath when I am about to fall asleep. I remember in college there were nights I didn't get to sleep till 5:00 am cause each time I was about to doze off I jump up gaspin for air. I had a sleep test done and I do have mild sleep apnea, but this is not the cause of my gasping for breath when asleep.

I am currently suffering very badly from breathlessness during the day and I have been very focused on my breathing. I hope you feel better.
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"Cowards die many times before their deaths;the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come." Julius Caesar

Offline Jayavyan

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 08:57:15 PM »
Yep, been there.  Something interesting happened not that long ago: I used to have that gasp pretty often, right before dozing off.  When I got my really bad panic under control (leaving me with basic, general anxiety), they went away.  BUT.  This last week I began some pretty intense breathing exercises, which has really been a nice source of relaxation, and I notice that those gasps are back at night.  They aren't really a concern of mine now, as I don't feel threatened by it, but it's interesting to note that breathing patterns almost certainly have a strong link to it.
Another thing I suspect is that our brains feel, as we doze off, a sudden sense of relinquishing control of our consciousness, and to an anxious person, that's translated in our breath; a knee-jerk reaction to snatch that control back.

But I'm only speaking from what I've observed.  I've no facts to back any of that up.  When it really bothered my, I found it was less frequent on my side, and also sometimes reading in bed would make me sleepy, and I'd fall asleep without gasping.  I suspected it was from having the mind focused on one thing and not a bunch of other fragmented worries.

Best of luck!
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"He who fears death has already lost the life he covets."

Offline freakinout11

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 02:06:21 AM »
you should ask for a change from vistrail to klonopin, vistril is basically just like taking a benadryll. TRUST ME, the difference in the meds is unmeasurable.
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Offline (HAWK)

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 05:20:10 AM »
OK,when your body and mind start to fall asleep you heart rate slows down,but if you notice your self falling asleep you make your heart speed up from tha slow state and that can make you breathless! :yes:
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Offline wave

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 08:31:45 AM »
When does it generally happen? Does it happen say an hour after you fall asleep or can it happen just about any time?

I have asthma but I would say it is fairly mild. I do not smoke however. But before I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder I would wake up about one hour after I fell asleep having breathing problems but I would still be half asleep and not notice about the breathing until I was almost out of it. I was scared to go back to sleep because I was unaware that I had anxiety disorder and thought it was asthma. I was scared that I might die overnight. I made sure I slept with my door open so that my mom could hear me. Now I am almost certain that my issue is anxiety and this symptom hasn't been bothering me in a little while. I hope that the same is true for you and that it will get a bit better. I am by no means a doctor though and don't know because you have more serious asthma than I do.
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Offline Jen27

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Re: Help. I am waking up gasping in my sleep (panic attacks?)
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 10:50:43 PM »
You sound like me I get panic attacks in my sleep and I have asthma and also smoke to and drink pepsi which the pepsi is bad to. It almost feels like a night mare to me,I wake up gasping for air,sweating,my heart beats really fast usally when I get them in my sleep it takes a few hours for me to calm down and fall back to sleep,after the attack is the worse for me because i'm laying there worried that if i go back to sleep it's gonna happen again.
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