Psychiatry & Psychology--General/HELP - waking up


recently I have been "jolting" awake. It feels as if upon getting near sleep my body goes into this deeper-than-sleep-intense relaxed state and I get a weird rush through my body and wake in a gasp of air, almost as though I wasn't breathing or my heart has stopped for a second or something.  The more tired I am the more likely/severe these "attacks" are. They're scaring the living heck out of me!
I assume they're stress related, as I do have anxiety badly, and recently had surgery and bled a lot, which triggered major panic due to the fact that years ago when I had my first born child I hemorrhaged  -it reminded me of that (though it wasn't that bad). I was on strong antibiotics for three days after my surgery and very doped up. incidentally these attacks didn't start occurring until the first night off my pills,(perhaps didn't experience the attacks before then due to the fact that the pills had me so doped up?)

Is this related to anxiety?
or a medical/health issue or related to a bad reaction to meds/anesthetic/the pills I was on, etc?

I have tried to tell myself it will go away if I know it's only my anxiety doing it, and I try to think positively while laying there trying to fall asleep but it still happens. Worse yet my online research turns up nothing on the subject but discussion forums where tons of people are saying they've had these episodes fro YEARS and doctor's haven't been able to diagnose it. That scares me even more.  What is this and how can I get rid of it?


There probably is not as precise an answer to your questions as your thoughtful letter asks.

As you know sleep is incredibly sensitive to what is going on in our lives.  Since you said this is a recent problem it is likely a reaction to something like the things that you have described as surrounding it.

The best way to re-stabilize your sleep is to try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time as well. This is sort of like rebooting your computer when you can't figure out what exactly is wrong with it, and afterword it works just fine.  Your body really wants to sleep so it will likely reset to a normal pattern in the near future.


Dr. Elmore

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.


30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

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Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

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