Panic attk as I fall asleep

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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/5/2007 11:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm getting an adrenaline rush through my torso right as I fall asleep. It wakes me up so many times and is also accompanied by a light-headed feeling just before it happens. They happen on their own, no matter what I'm thinking. I've had to go back on amitriptyline, but I really don't like taking it. What would be the best antidepressant to treat panic attks as you fall asleep ? I rarely have a panic attk when I'm wide awake though. Does anyone have an idea of what's going on ? I've been having withdrawal from taking Zoloft for 5 years and trying to get off it. Could this be related to that ?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 5/6/2007 3:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there Senseirebel
Welcome to HW tongue
I have had panic attacks that you describe just before sleeping..I think it's because we are finally letting go of all the daily tension in our body and mind - even if we are not consciously thinking about things..I finally learned to control mine thru calm breathing techniques - as soon as you feel them coming on take control of your breathing and see what happens - takes practice but it is possible :-) .
Everyone responds to meds in different ways..when anxiety gets the better of me I have lorazapam on hand..
If you are not happy taking some meds discuss it with your doctor..ask for choices, check out side effects with him and ask for explanations.
Keep us posted.
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Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3036
   Posted 5/7/2007 7:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been one to lay down to go to bed,then I am up within 5 minutes cleaning like a maniac to beat the panic attack.

They are so hard to deal with!

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Chronic Depression, Panic Attacks,Anxiety Attacks,Anorexia

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 5/7/2007 12:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't have anxiety falling asleep but I often wake up at about 2:00 or 3:00AM with anxiety and my heart racing as if I had a bad dream. But, unlike with a bad dream, I don't calm down within a few minutes. It can last an hour or more. Pretty miserable. sad
I haven't been getting it as often on Zoloft but still do frequently enough to often feel sleep deprived.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 135
   Posted 5/7/2007 2:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I have that too. I listen to calming music when I'm in bed about to sleep. It helps keep my mind off of anything else but the music. But of corse later I get up two hours later only to repeat it again. But sometmes, nthing seems to help.

good luck

~"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." ~Helen Keller

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 5/8/2007 6:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Zoloft withdrawal can cause agitation and insomnia. So I suppose, your panic attacks may be aggravated by withdrawal. 
You can practice relaxation techniques (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation) to help relax body and mind. Herbs with sedative properties also may slightly help to relax (list of herbs used for insomnia).
If you don't believe in non-medical approaches, you can talk to you doctor about drugs. Benzodiazepines are usually very effective for both panic attacks and insomnia, but are highly addictive. SSRIs are also used for panic disorders, but since you are discontinuing Zoloft probably SSRIs are not an option.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 5/9/2007 10:17 PM (GMT -6)   
It could also be something called "hypnagogic myoclonic twitch", a very common occurrence..

"The general consensus among researchers is that, as your muscles begin to slack and go into a restful state just as you are falling asleep; your brain senses these relaxation signals and misinterprets them, thinking you are falling down. The brain then sends signals to the muscles in your arms and legs in an attempt to jerk you back upright. This misinterpretation that takes place in your brain may also be responsible for the “falling” dreams that accompany the falling sensation. These “dreams” are not really normal dreams, as they are not produced from R.E.M sleep, but rather more like a daydream or hallucination in response to the body’s sensations."
Female, 22, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia from long term prednisone use

Currently taking 10mg of prednisone (down from 40! Bleeding has returned but I'm sticking it out... I want off!!)
Waiting to start back on Azathioprine...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 5/10/2007 8:26 AM (GMT -6)   
I used to get these, too. The second I'd start to doze off, it's like something would startle me and I'd get sick to my stomach. Sometimes the sensation was brief...sometimes it would set off a chain of events that would keep me up all night long.

There are drugs that you can take for this, and I'm pretty sure they'd take care of the problem, but since your primary condition is depression I don't know if you're the best candidate. You could ask your doctor, though. Short-acting benzodiazepines...a small dose just at night before bed. They're indicated to treat anxiety and panic disorder.

You may also check out the "relaxation techniques" thread in Healing Well's Anxiety/Panic forum. Some of those may help.

Good luck. I know what it's like to have this and it's certainly not pleasant.

Edit -- spelling mistake
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorder

Post Edited (debaser) : 5/10/2007 4:05:19 PM (GMT-6)

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