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Inability to sleep due to Twitch and Anxiety
waterlily222 posted:
I am 10 weeks pregnant and within the past three weeks, I recently came off of antidepressant meds, Effexor, Abilify and Nortriptyline. For the past week I have been suffering with what I can only call sleeping panic attacks. While falling asleep, my body twitches, jerking me awake. This goes on for a 45 minute period until I am awake enough to begin to feel the panic take over. I don't know if this is a result of being without the meds, but it is the scariest feeling I have ever felt. Even though my mind seems to be calm while I first attempt to fall asleep, the longer the twitch-waking goes on, the more I begin to let the anxiety take over. I then need sit up and turn on lights and distract myself so as not to enter a full blown panic attack. I am fearful that I will never be able to sleep again! At the recommendation of several anxiety web sites, I am going to start jogging tomorrow in hopes it raises my serotonin levels and that the physical activity tires me out. I followed the doctor's regiments and titrated off of my meds slowly and feel fine with the exception of the twitching and the sleeping panic. Please help with any suggestions, I really don't want to go back on any meds, for both my sake and the baby's. I have tried calming techniques like deep breathing and once I am awake, I am usually able to ride the wave of anxiety in a successful manner. It is just during those sleep spasms when I am groggy and out of it that the panic becomes all consuming. There is definitely some sort of chemical reaction going on in my nervous system/ brain, as this is not just in my mind. I am at my wits end. Please Help!
atti_editor responded:
Hi waterlily222,

I am sorry that you have been dealing with this. Has jogging helped at all? While I cannot give medical advice or diagnosis, you might want to check out this information on hypnic jerks . It seems to me that this might be what you are experiencing. The good news is that they are considered medically harmless, the bad news is that because of that there is not much research on them. This article has some more in depth information.

You might try adding some of these habits into your daily routine (as you have running) to help you get a better night's sleep and avoid panic attacks. These natural sleep aids and remedies might also interest you -- you should consult with your doctor before starting any to make sure they are safe for you and your baby.

Best wishes,
atti_editor responded:
Just wanted to add that you might also want to post your question in our Anxiety & Panic Community . Members there might have some good insights and tips from personal experience for you as well.

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For more information, visit the Duke Health Sleep Disorders Center