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Extreme electrical/spasm feeling in stomach upon falling asleep

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Old 05-28-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: California
Posts: 22
lege009 HB User
Unhappy Extreme electrical/spasm feeling in stomach upon falling asleep

Hello All,

for the past few months I have been having a very scary senesation right as I'm about to fall asleep. After I exhale, I am overcome by a feeling that im blacking out/dying, I get this extreme electrical/nervous feeling in my stomach and I'm abruptly shaken awake by a sudden jolt. The best way I can describe it is a distress signal trying to keep me alive. I cannot tell if it is a heart problem, stomach one, or a nervous system one. I always check my pulse immidiately after these happen, but it seems normal. Once the first one happens, I am scared to go back to sleep for fear that one of these jolts might stop my heart.

Basically it happens in this order: -onset of sleep. -exhale. -feeling that I'm passing out. -electrical shock/nervous feeling in my stomach. -jolt awake.

I've had every heart test imaginable done, all normal. sleep study, normal. These episodes only happen when Im not being monitered. It seems like a cruel joke.

I used to get intense electrical sensations in my brain and my doctor thought it could be localized epilepsy. I was prescribed lamotrigine, and the shocks have since stopped in my brain. But they migrated to my stomach. I've been doing some research on the vagus nerve, stomach spasms, nervous stomach syndrome etc, but these disorders don't really fit with what I'm experiencing. I feel like if my body wasn't jolting me awake, I would die. The blacking out feeling is something I've never expereinced before and I feel like if I just laid back and let it take me, I would be dead. It's very scary

My doctor thinks I'm crazy and has chopped it up to stress. I'm considering switching doctors because something is going on here and I cant live with it anymore. It's very hard being afraid to go to sleep.

A side note: I do have a history of drug/alcohol use in the past. I have since stopped to try and get healthy, but I feel like these episodes can't be good long term. I'm only 21! I dont want to live like this forever. Anyone with any information PLEASE HELP!

Thank you

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Old 11-20-2012, 11:55 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1
Meggyrae HB User
Re: Extreme electrical/spasm feeling in stomach upon falling asleep

I have searched and searched and I have not found one person who so accurately describes how I feel. The feeling is exactly the same , including the feeling that unless I fight it I will die. I've been dealing with this for about a year, and since then have seen two doctors neither of which had any answers or suggestions. Everyone thinks I'm crazy. The frequency of these attacks while falling asleep have become so constant I've actually have tried just giving in and letting the feeling take over, at least then people would have to believe me once something really did happen.... Only when you dont fight it your body still does... It's like being trapped under water fighting for breath and without the jolt to set you free from your twilight nightmare it will continue with the overwhelming pulling or dropping sensation and not let you go. Did you ever get a dr to figure out what it is??? I find it strange that we have the same feeling, we are both young, you 21 and I am 24... ?? *** is going on with my body??

Last edited by Administrator; 02-27-2013 at 11:26 AM.

Old 11-20-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2012
Location: California
Posts: 22
lege009 HB User
Re: Extreme electrical/spasm feeling in stomach upon falling asleep

Hello. Let me start out by saying I'm sorry you are going through this. I have zeroed in on a few things that might help you. 1) just last week I had a sleep study and it was determined I have severe sleep apnea only in REM sleep. This seems a likely cause for this sensation because these shutting down episodes seem to happen when im dreaming. I will go from a vivid dream to complete darkness and a feeling that I'm about to die. Doc says when I stop breathing in my sleep, my body sends an emergency signal to wake me up.

If you can afford it, I would suggest seeing a sleep doctor and maybe getting a sleep study. You will be attached to an EEG during the test and it can tell if you're having any seizure activity as well. You can also have these sensations just as you are drifting off to sleep. If you are REM sleep deprived, like patients with sleep apnea are, you're body tries to go right into rem sleep as soon as you drift off (rem rebound sleep). It is this deep sleep where your airways are most vulnerable to collapse. 2) benzodiazepines. Have you been prescribed Xanax or klonopin to help you stay calm through this all? I was on Xanax for 10 months before I decided to come off of it. I did not taper off properly, and these electric shock/jolts are commonly reported in benzodiazepine interdose/tolerance withdrawal. 3) Magnesium. This has helped with a lot of these jolty type feelings/heart palpitations/shocks. I still don't know if these jolts are heart related, but it seems to help. 4) always fight you're way out of them. I have never let the sensation take me. It literally feels like I'm shutting down and I usually violently shake myself awake. I wouldn't recommend laying back and letting it take you. Who knows what could happen.

Overall I would say sleep apnea might be the best place to start. I am 21 and never snored so I thought the sleep study was going to be another meaningless test with no answer like everything else. But obviously I was wrong. I am trying to get used to my new cpap machine and will let you know how it goes. The Idea is that if your body keeps a steady flow of oxygen, your brain doesn't panic and violently wake you up. Cpap isn't fun nor attractive, but it beats feeling like you're dying.

Please let me know if this helps you at all. I am interested in hearing how you progress. I will say, we are both still alive after a long time of these. If they were fatal, they would have killed us already. I would also recommend avoiding benzos at all costs. The withdrawals are horrible and are responsible for a lot of strange symptoms, especially when no other diagnosis can be made. I would avoid sleeping aids in general until you find out if you have sleep apnea or not. Sleeping aids make your airways collapse even more. Let's keep in touch. We will beat this.

Last edited by moderator2; 11-20-2012 at 02:59 PM. Reason: posted disallowed website

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