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Woke up in night with gasping for air, water. Cause?

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I suffer from anxiety and a lot of it manifests as health anxiety. I am having therapy and working through issues/grief after a particularly hard year. I have been trying not to go to doctors as much in order to break the cycle, but I wanted to ask on this one.

I woke last night gasping for air/with a really dry mouth (like I would cough if I didn't get water). I've always slept with water (I often have a dry mouth) and the gasping has happened before, but is more frequent over the last couple of years. I'm often waking up tired/am tired during the day, suffer with headaches and muscle pain/tenderness all over. I have been diagnosed as a severe bruxist and so get muscular face pain/headaches (have a mouthguard but it doesn't really help so I wasn't wearing it).

I googled (first and always my mistake) and came across sleep aponea. I read about the central type (I don't snore) and am now panicking that because I don't snore, I have the central type which is linked to a neurological cause (a big health anxiety fear). The problem with a lot of my symptoms (pain/tingling/sometimes twitching eyelid/seborreric dermatitis etc) is that they can all be linked to neurological causes (MS/Parkinsons) as well as anxiety! I had a neuro exam about 2 years back, all normal, my eyes are normal (only blepharitis in eyelids and normal age related floaters), brain MRI 2 years back all within normal limits. I have a deviated septum after I broke my nose age 12 and do sometimes struggle to breathe more through one nostril.

And yet, because I don't snore, it's turned into CSA in my head, which has turned into neuro disease. I feel crazy just typing that. And I'm afraid to sleep tonight. I'm 31.

Sorry for War and Peace here.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.

Thanks for using DoctorSpring.com for posting your query.
I have gone through your question in detail and I can understand what you are going through.
Its true that central apnoea can lead to the mentioned symptoms and exacerbate anxiety as well. However considering the fact that you have plenty of anxiety symptoms, accompanied with stressful situations in life nand the fact that anxiety disorder are far far common that the central apnoea, its more likely of you to have an anxiety disorder rather than sleep apnoea. The waking up episodes could very well be panic attacks.
I would still like to suggest you to go for polysomnography, the sleep study, to confirm the things. Most likely this is going to come normal, but still it will reduce your anxiety to a great extent.
Other wise anxiety occurs cause of imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. especially serotonin, nor adrenaline, and dopamine to some extent. Medicines are the best options to take care of these symptoms. Paroxetine is the the most popular medicine and my drug of choice. I generally prescribe my patients 12.5 mg per day at night which takes care of anxiety symptoms. Also certain medicines like propranolol and clonazepam can be give as required when there is a panic episode or expected situation where panic attack can appear. Medicines are safe and can be considered as a good option.
Hope this helps,
In case if you have any further query, do let me know.
Kind regards

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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