Forum · Claustrophobia/Panic with CPAP

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[-] MichaelJ +0 points · about 2 years ago

I've been learning to adapt to CPAP due to my diagnosis of 33 events per hour outcome of my test. I have both a full face mask, and a nasal pillow (and a chin strap) and after a few weeks of earnestly trying to get the benefits of this way of helping Apnea, I have been interrupted by a feeling of claustrophobia 4 times in the last week. I have had panic/anxiety attacks over the last few years and I have refused to take sleep and/or anxiety meds because of unwanted side effects. I feel it has become another hurdle and I feel embarrassed to tell my provider when I bring the chip in for compliance of 4 hours a night for the first 30 days. I know I am not going to have the right amount of hours. My Dr. already said it would be ok because of the time it took to find the right CPAP mask, but we haven't discussed the panic attacks yet. I'm pretty sure he will be understanding, but anyway I am posting this to get any feedback about this issue. I've learned that to be successful with CPAP I need to be very relaxed; which is the opposite of anxiety/panic. Have any of you dealt with this issue and have you overcome it? Any suggestions?

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[-] TheresaS +0 points · about 2 years ago

@MichaelJ Many people here can relate to this, Michael-- so you are not alone. When that anxious feeling comes along, some people have success with relaxation exercises. Sometimes it helps if you relax each part of your body, concentrating on one part at a time. Start with your toes and work up, just completely relaxing all the muscles related.

It is also very important to let the pressure fill the back of your throat- letting the throat relax. It is likened to letting the machine do what it was designed to do, and trying not to breathe against that pressure.

Does this make sense? I am happy to talk to you one-on-one if you like. tshumard@sleepapnea.org

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[-] SensibleCoralEagle3318 +0 points · about 2 years ago

my sleep therapist had me wear the mask around the house to accept it rather than let the anxiety get to me. Now I have fear of going without my pillars but I had to once and didnt sleep well but i didnt die so now i know I will get very little sleep. It's like sleeping in a barn and its me making the noises.

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[-] barbz +0 points · almost 2 years ago

A gentleman on another forum has claustrophobia and uses the oral mask by Fischer Paykel, the Oracle. It is not known as the easiest mask, but some do not even have to use the neck strap!

[+] [deleted] +0 points · almost 2 years ago
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[-] Ruby +0 points · almost 2 years ago

A friend of mine long ago had the same problem. He was told to lie in bed with the lights on and the mask on. Then move his hands all around to show that he wasn't tied down, he was free to move. Do that with his legs and eyes. This was all to prove that he wasn't in a tight spot or being held down without being able to move. It worked for him but it did take a few nights.

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