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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Night Terrors

 sarahdactyl - Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:23 pm

I started having night terrors when I was around the age of 8. I would wake up screaming or wake up startled. After a few years they went away.

Last year however they have returned full force (I am now 22). Once a week I will wake up startled, my heart racing. I feel absolutely scared to death. I feel like I am going to die.

About once or twice a month (or sometimes they will skip a month or two.. its random) I will wake up screaming, throwing myself out of bed or possibly run screaming out of my bed room before I gain full control of myself. It's weird to describe... I am conscious of what I am doing on some certain level but I have no control of my body for like 20 seconds from when I wake up.

Last week I woke up screaming and pushed over my lamp (in which I broke) and fan as I was crawling out of bed and ran out into the hallway. That was the last straw for me.

After these bad ones I convulse or shake for a good twenty minutes and sometimes talking to someone is the only way to calm me, like I need to be in touch with 'reality' so I know I am not going to die.

Also, I do not recall remembering dreaming anything before hand.

I do have anxiety & panic attacks (I think that has something to do with it) and heart palpitations.

Is there any techniques I can use besides getting medication?
Would it be wise to go see a podiatrist?
Is my condition bad enough to where I could hurt myself or someone else?
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:36 pm

Hello, sarahdactyl,

First, I apologize for the tardiness of this response to your question. I'll go ahead and provide some information, and hope that it can be helpful to you, and to any others who read this post.

Night terrors and anxiety can have a definite relationship. Generally, true night terrors occur in children, but they are possible in adults. The person awakens suddenly, and may experience gasping or moaning, or even screaming while awakening. The person is in slow wave sleep prior to awakening, and the event usually isn't recalled by the person experiencing the night terror. Sometimes it's very helpful to adjust one's sleep schedule to ensure sufficient sleep. If there is another person present, it's recommended that they help keep a record of the events, so the doctor can review it. Treatment is effective, and consists of psychotherapy along with antidepressants, which help sleep.
It's important that your doctor be made aware of such problems, and a detailed psychological interview can help identify underlying contributing factors. I hope this information is helpful to you, and I wish you good luck.

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