Night Terrors in Adults

Night terrors or sleep terrors commonly happen to children. This happens when they are frightened about something whenever they go to sleep. Some adults, too, have recurring episodes of night terrors that make it difficult for them to sleep soundly.

As you get older, you value your sleep and rest more. Juggling your life between family and career or other responsibilities can be very exhausting and time-consuming. The moment you lay down on your bed and start to drowse off seems like a luxury.

A night terror is defined by Mayo Clinic as “episodes of screaming, intense fear and flailing while still asleep”. There are also times where sleepwalking is involved.  Commonly, it happens in children but adults are not spared from experiencing it. Around 1 to 2% of adults struggle with night terrors.

What are the symptoms of night terrors in adults?

It is quite a challenge to manage night terrors when you are an adult because you are living alone or you think that it is normal in your age. However, you need to start worrying if you always feel exhausted and uneasy when sleeping.

Some of the most common symptoms of night terrors in adults are: 

  •       screaming and shouting in distress
  •       sudden sitting up
  •       sleepwalking
  •       heavy breathing and sweating
  •       thrashing of arms and feet
  •       difficult to wake up
  •       dilated pupils
  •       eyes are open but unaware of what is happening
  •       displays aggressive behavior
  •       gets confused once awake
  •       does not remember anything
  •       the attack lasts from 30 seconds to 3 minutes or even longer 

What are the causes of night terrors in adults? 

As you grow older, so many happenings in your life that directly affect how you think, act and feel. For some, night terrors are an indicator that they are living a stressful life. On the other hand, a number of adults cannot pinpoint the true causes of their night terrors. 

Experts all agree that night terrors happen during N3 sleep which is considered the deepest stage of non-rapid eye movement sleep. Technically a night terror is a dream but as you transition from one sleep stage to another, there is an occurrence of fear and other unpleasant reactions.

It is believed that night terrors are caused by:

  •       sleep deprivation
  •       exhaustion
  •       sleep interruptions
  •       physical or emotional stress
  •       overfull bladder
  •       sleeping in an unfamiliar place
  •       light or noise
  •       fever
  •       migraine
  •       genetic factors
  •       medications
  •       alcohol or substance abuse
  •       traumas
  •       mood disorders like depression, anxiety

When to get treatment for night terrors?

With the lack of knowledge about night terrors, many assumed that this was just an ordinary nightmare. However, you need to be alarmed when it occurs frequently and has started to disrupt your daily life.

Your relationship with your family, friends and colleagues are also affected. You are easily annoyed and irritated even over little things because you are not well rested. Both your body and mind need enough sleep and rest to fully operate.

Instead of being productive at work, you slowly become ineffective due to lack of sleep and exhaustion. If you are dealing with traumas, depression or anxiety, night terrors can worsen your condition. It can lead to a more severe problem like having suicidal thoughts or addiction because your body and mind are not at their best state to function.

 You need to know the underlying conditions that bring you night terrors because these need to be addressed first. If this is caused by traumas, stress or a symptom of a mental health condition, better visit a counselor or therapist near me to further investigate the root cause of the problem and how to deal with it.

 You may need to attend therapy near me or counseling sessions in order to handle this problem in the right way. It is rare to give medications for night terror but if it gets out of hand, your doctor will prescribed you with one.

Where to get help?

Mindshift Psychological Services deals with various types of mental health conditions. It is manned with highly trained, credible and reliable psychologists and therapists near me. Their expertise in their respective fields is what makes this place the most ideal and suitable for those who are struggling with traumas, depression and anxiety.

If your night terrors slowly create an unpleasant and problematic environment for you and your family, contact their medical professionals to get help right away. This may seem like a trivial thing but night terror needs immediate attention.

Whether your night terror is caused by mood disorders like depression and anxiety or traumas like domestic abuse or accident, you must take the first step in managing this. Opening up to someone whom you know can help and guide you, will calm your mind.

You may visit their website to learn more about their therapy near me and counseling sessions and other services. You can also contact them at (714) 584-9700 to schedule an appointment.