Although we’re not yet sure exactly what causes nocturnal panic attacks, remember that people with other types of panic disorders do have elevated risk. A medical condition like PTSD, chronic depression, high anxiety, and chronic stress are all believed to contribute to the occurrence of NPAs.
Anyone can experience a nocturnal panic attack. After waking up with jarring, uncomfortable physical and mental sensations, you might first think you’ve had a nightmare. However, nightmares, night terrors, and nocturnal panic attacks each have unique symptoms and are separate phenomena.
Take the steps to minimize your nocturnal panic attacks
There’s not one clearly defined, effective technique for totally alleviating or managing your nocturnal panic attacks. Not everything will work equally well for every person. However, there is some good news. The methods for treatment and coping we’ve discussed here can help you experience less intense, less frequent NPAs.
Some people completely cease having any nighttime panic attack after successful therapy and the continuation of self-management techniques. Others can decrease the number and intensity of the NPA episodes they experience.
If you believe you’re experiencing recurring nocturnal panic attacks, then begin practicing some of the centering, relaxing techniques outlined above. Especially in the evenings when you’re winding down and preparing for sleep, it can help to put your mind in a gentle state of relaxation, reducing the likelihood of having a nocturnal panic attack.
If self-management techniques don’t seem to be working for you, or if your NPAs begin to occur more frequently and are more severe, seek professional help from a therapist or another mental health professional. Learning to manage nocturnal panic attacks can help reduce your stress, ease your mind, and restore your energy.