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Home :: Neurology Disorders

Sleep Terror Disorder - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 

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Sleep problems frequently occur around periods of stress in a person's life and can occur at any age. Sleep terror is characterized by an abrupt arousal from sleep followed by symptoms of extreme fear. Sleep terror disorder is estimated that approximately 1%6% of children in the United States experience sleep terror at some point in their childhood. Fewer than 1% of adults have sleep terror disorder. For most adults, sleep terrors begin in their 20s or 30s, although it is possible for someone to suffer from episodes of sleep terror from childhood onward. The treatment for sleep-disordered breathing is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).  Psychotherapy is often helpful for adults concerned about the specific triggers of sleep terror episodes. Several different medications have been used to treat sleep terror disorder, with varying degrees of success. One of the most common is diazepam (Valium). Diazepam is a hypnotic (sleep-inducing medication). Ramelteon (Rozerem) is a prescription drug that stimulates melatonin receptors. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland during the dark hours of the day-night cycle ( circadian rhythm ). Melatonin levels in the body are low during daylight hours.

Causes of Sleep Terror Disorder

Common Causes and Risk factors of Sleep Terror Disorder

  • Emotional stress.
  • High fever.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Drugs. (perphenazine, desipramine , chloral hydrate, and lithium ).
  • Chronic renal failure.
  • Osteoarthritis of the hips and knees.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Terror Disorder

Common Sign and Symptoms of Sleep Terror Disorder

  • Sweating.
  • Screaming.
  • Breathing fast.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Large pupils.
  • Confusion.

Treatment for Sleep Terror Disorder

Common Treatment for Sleep Terror Disorder

  • Psychotherapy is often helpful for adults concerned about the specific triggers of sleep terror episodes.
  • Several different medications have been used to treat sleep terror disorder One of the most common is diazepam (Valium).
  • Benzodiazepine medications (such as diazepam) used at bedtime will often reduce night terrors.
  • Sleep-restriction therapy is based upon the fact that excessive time in bed often perpetuates the Sleep Terrors. .
  • Good sleep habits will improve Sleep terror and frequent sleep awakenings.