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Parasomnias are a category of sleep disorders in which abnormal events occur during sleep, due to inappropriately timed activation of physiological systems.
we report the case of a 41-year-old female who has no psychiatric history. The patient went to emergency department because when she was starting to sleep, in the first state of sleep, she felts a sensation of paralysis in all her body, with incapacity for breathing, chest oppression and tactile hallucinations like something or someone was touching her entire body. Due to that, the patient awoke frightened, with high levels of anxiety, with heart palpitations, shortness of breath, trembling, choking feeling, sweating, nausea and fear of dying. When the patient arrived to the emergency department, she was suffering a panic attack, thinking that she could have some kind of neurological disease or she was suffering a heart attack. after treating the panic attack with 1 mg of lorazepam, all the symptoms subsided gradually.
in this case report, we present a patient with a new-onset parasomnia, with hypnagogic hallucinations and a panic attack at the awakening. It is known that stress factors are closely associated with parasomnias, as we can see in this case because the patient was moving and she was sleeping in a new place.
Parasomnias are very frequently present in general population and they can trigger intense anxiety status that can lead to panic attacks.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.