Hello, Ok I’m 19 and I have a 5 month old baby girl. I’m also married unemployed and living in my own apartment with my husband. I am constantly scared. It happens at night. I dread the minute my husband wants to go to bed. I’m always thinking that someone is going to break in and hurt us. I get very scared and constantly think these things. Its only when my husband leaves or is sleeping that I feel this way. I hate to be without another adult. It makes me sad and very lonely. Also, whenever I sleep I have dreams that people are chasing me or trying to kill me. It really bothers me and makes me not want to sleep. What can I do to help this fear? Its total anxiety and it never goes away.

A. There is probably more to your situation than is contained in your letter. If I were interviewing you in person I would want to know if you recently experienced a trauma or if an event has prompted your night anxiety. The purpose of such an inquiry would be to determine if your fears are justified. For instance, if you were a victim of a home invasion, then your fears would be understandable.

One way to reduce fear is to understand reality. If there is no logical reason for your anxiety, then you can’t allow yourself to be anxious. I understand that this is “easier said than done.” Examine the situation, determine your level of danger and react accordingly.

If you continue to struggle with this issue, I would recommend seeing a therapist. Your anxiety levels may eventually dissipate but therapy could significantly expedite that process. You may only need a few sessions to solve this problem. A therapist could assist you extinguishing your fear and examining your anxieties. Therapy could also address your nightmares.

Also consider discussing this issue with your primary care physician. He or she may prescribe a sleeping medication to take on an as needed basis. Sleep medication may not “solve” the problem but it might assist you in getting to sleep faster. The quicker you fall asleep, the less anxiety you will have felt.

Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle