Sleep apnea and panic attacks - wife does not understand

by Nick
(Sussex, England)

England-after 5 weeks no sleep and panic attacks I discovered sleep apnea and got referred.(no mention from doctor just pills!)

Test show apnea throughout night-I now have had m/c and full mask for 3 days.

I still struggle with claustrophobia and panic. Worst thing is my wife does not understand panic attacks and thinks I am mad!

Your site has been really useful and I will use exercises to try to get used to mask and pressure to breath.

I guess question is how can you make people aware of theses panic terrors especially on your own at 3am with this condition.

Great info on site

Good wishes


You could explain your wife that panic attacks is a common side effect of people with untreated sleep apnea.

Tell her that each apnea episode dumps a lot of adrenaline into your system. This also happens when you are being suffocated and your body sets of the fight or flight response.

This video will explain more about fight or flight:

And once you start experiencing panic attacks, your body is more determined to have them.

Furthermore, the less sleep you get, the easier it is to set yourself up for a panic attack.

And in this video you will learn why a good sleep is so important to overcome panic attacks:

How should your wife react to your panic attacks? Well, maybe this video explains better:

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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Jul 03, 2011
Can relate
by: shylakay

Hi...I can relate to you how you feel, somewhat. I have been dealing w/ panic and anxiety attacks for several years now. I was actually borderline agoraphobic until my financial world fell apart and I HAD to get a job.

I had anxiety when the phone call came to call me to do a phone interview and then worse when I had to actually GO IN and do face to face.. but I DID IT. With my CPAP mask, I felt like ( and still do A LOT)..that there is NO air inside the mask ( full face mask) when I am sleeping with it.

I have mentioned this before and perhaps it only works (FOR ME) because it is a psychological thing. I HAVE to lie down with my mask on and then when I lie on my side to get comfy I HAVE to place my hand upon the pillow near so that I can feel the air BLOWING OUT of the mask hitting my hand.

AS long as I can feel instantly reassures me of ALL the air blowing inside the mask.

To me, the hardest thing to do sometimes at first is reminding myself to breath " normally". NOT trying to inhale a large amount of air that is blowing into your nose and mouth and breathing OUT against all that air.

Mine is set fairly low, I am sure, compared to what some have to have their set..and mine ramps from a lower rate to just a little higher by the time I fall asleep.

I don't know WHY this works for me... the mind is a very powerful creature..and this simple thing of placing my hand ..where I can feel the air..tells my mind.." it's ok..see.. this is nice.. all this air is helping me to breathe..making sure I don't stop breathing." and it becomes a thing of " bliss" at night. If I don't feel the air on my hand.. I instantly feel panic..and like there is NO AIR inside the mask and I am trapped.

I hope this makes ANY sense at all to you...perhaps it only makes sense to me. lol...but HEY.. it works.

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