Anxiety attacks can be extremely scary. Many clients tell me that they fear that they’re losing control or “going insane.” Though such feelings and emotions are often uncomfortable, they’re certainly symptoms of anxiety attacks, which will pass with time. When they don’t, though, it can be especially frightening.
There are a few ways to stop anxiety attacks and panic attacks from occurring during the night. The first is to get more sleep. A lack of sleep can increase stress, which in turn increases anxiety. In addition, many medications like benzodiazepines (trazadone) have sleep-related side effects, which can increase anxiety as well. Some antidepressants (e.g., trazodone) is also addictive; while there’s no evidence that chronic use of antidepressants causes addiction, many doctors believe that the increased levels of serotonin in the brain can actually lead to mental health problems over time.
Another way to stop anxiety attacks and panic attacks at night is to implement a comprehensive anti-anxiety program. Anti-anxiety medications, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation training, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and other strategies have all been proven effective for reducing anxiety. Many people find that joining a support group that includes others who have experienced the same symptoms as their friend helps them to better understand how they feel and to devise more appropriate ways of dealing with their anxiety. These friends may also be able to offer additional tips for handling anxiety and panic attacks at night.
The other way to stop anxiety attacks and panic attacks at night is to alter your brain chemistry. Recent studies suggest that a chemical in the brain called serotonin may play a role in anxiety and depression. When this chemical is reduced, both depression and anxiety become worse. One way to increase serotonin levels is to eat right and exercise. These activities will help to restore balance in the brain chemicals and may provide effective relief from both anxiety and depression.
There are many people who try to stop anxiety attacks and panic attacks at night by ingesting certain types of foods that contain this chemical. While there is some evidence that these foods do have an effect, the best thing you can do is avoid them altogether. Some of these foods include caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy products, wheat products, nuts, seeds, soy products and chocolate. In addition, many people find that getting adequate sleep and avoiding environmental factors such as smoke, cold air and smog help them to sleep better at night and to feel less anxious throughout the day.
If you find that your anxiety attack symptoms are severe enough, you may want to consult with a therapist to determine if a prescription medication is appropriate. Many times, these medications can reduce the symptoms enough so that your disorder does not interfere with your quality of life too much. Keep in mind that many people feel better when taking an anti-anxiety medication rather than trying to cure the problem on their own. Also, in the case of prescription medications, if your doctor decides that your disorder needs a prescription that is stronger than what he or she normally gives you, he or she will be able to prescribe you stronger medications that will be more effective against the symptoms. In the end, just remember that if your symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your sleeping or daily activities, you should consult with a medical professional for the best options for treating the problem.