Our expert says:
Psychologist: Hi Yas,
Unfortunately as a psychologist I am unable to comment at this moment on the medication you are taking.It would be better for your doctor or a psychiatrist to answer those questions. However, it does seem like you experienced panic symptoms that night. These symptoms could be due to your panic disorder through unconscious fears aroused in your sleep or it could be caused by a sleep terror episode. The symptoms are similar.
Someone who experiences sleep terror, experiences an abrupt awakening from sleep during the first third of the sleep episode, which is when you described the symptoms. Some of the same symptoms of panic are felt, which is also what you described. My sense though is that the panic disorder that you have been diagnosed with is related to what happened to you and the fear that you now feel towards another episode happening is also very much related to your previous experiences of panic attacks. It is best to consult your doctor or psychiatrist to get more information on the symptoms you specifically experienced. It is a frightening experience and I’m sure has increased your anxiety a lot as well.
Because your anxiety and worries have increased it would really be best to combine your medical treatment with psychological therapy. This might give you insight into the triggers of your panic and help you manage your fears related to further attacks. It will also help you to understand your worry about needing reassurance of your health. It is common that people with high anxiety levels worry about their physical health as the symptoms experienced in anxiety or panic are very much felt physically. Please do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with your doctor or psychiatrist and I do think that it would be useful for you to talk about the emotional worries with a psychologist. You can contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group to put you in touch with a psychologist in your area. Their number is 0800 70 80 90.
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