It is mostly thought that only children suffer from this terrible condition, Night terrors in adults however are also not very uncommon. It is a parasomnia state in which sufferers react dreadfully if sense any fear around them.
One of my friends who suffered from night terrors explained,
‘Some nights I used to wake up in the middle of the Night terrified, sweating and breathing rapidly, and I had no idea of what even happened’
The sufferer in this situation wakes up and starts to shout or cry. Also, during that hour if you would ask them ‘what’s wrong?’ they would just not answer, like they aren’t listening. It becomes one tough time for not only the victim but also their family.
‘I couldn’t go for sleepover at my friend’s or relative’s place because I didn’t want to scare everyone’
she further said.
Nevertheless, it is in fact not impossible to cure Sleep terrors, you might have to wait to make it go away naturally but you may also control it by taking care of a just a couple of things. To understand more about Night terrors in Adults, its symptoms, causes and cure, stay with us!
Night Terrors in Adults Causes
It is yet to be known that what causes night terror. But despite that, it is witnessed that people with sleeping sickness have history of depressive, anxiety or bipolar disorders. According to the specialists, Night terrors in adults can be due to number of reasons like,
- Emotional or Physical stress
- Sleep deprivation
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Head injury
- Unfamiliar surroundings
- Pre-menstrual syndrome
- Use of Alcohol or Drugs
Night terrors in adults symptoms
Night terrors in adults or kids usually last for up to 20 minutes. You may tell by looking that the victim is in extreme fear, which results in increase of their heart beat or it makes them sweat. Generally victim would wake up and scream out, but in several situations they may also get out of bed and start to walk around. Moreover, adults may perform violent actions in such cases or they may also get severe injuries by falling off the window or stairs.
If you try to wake the person up as we mentioned before, they wouldn’t respond because sleep terrors occur when they are not actually awake, and it is nearly not possible to bring them back to consciousness. Such terrors happen usually during first third of night’s sleep, and each episode ends by bringing the person either back to normal sleep or waking him up nervously and terrified. What is more is that, after waking up the sufferer is left with no memory of the incident.
How to stop night terrors in Adults
Night terrors are not threatening and do not need medication in majority of the cases. These horrors usually fade away with time, still in adults if night terrors start to result in violent activities, then extra care should be taken. Essentially the patient should be taken to a psychiatrist or sleep specialist. Usually they would ask for the sleep record of two weeks. They may also ask the person several crucial questions, for instance, if they are taking any medicine? Or suffering from any decease? Or may be going through any kind of depression, anxiety or mental disorder? After a thorough check up, specialist decides whether medicine is needed or any other treatment would work. Sometimes, Obstructive sleep apnea also causes night terrors and treatment of OCA may help with sleep terrors as well.
Do you know? ‘One study found that people with Night terrors were 4.3 times more likely to have had a car accidents in the past year’
Moreover, for night terrors in adults treatment we would suggest to keep calm, try to not overthink, stay optimistic and also keep yourself away from whatever gives you anxiety. Furthermore, if you are spending too much time on work, take a short break and spend quality time with people or things that make you happy. Take 8 hours of sleep regularly, exercise routinely, eat healthy and avoid taking drugs or alcohol. Relaxation therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy may also help. Also, if you have problem of walking in sleep, close the windows and doors before sleeping, and also put the medicines at a secure place.
Night terrors vs. Nightmares
Usually people confuse Night terror disorder with Nightmare disorder. Although both are parasomnias, and people in either cases may wake up in intense fear, even so in actual both of these disorders are quite not similar. How? We have explained,
Your sleep is usually made up of five stages, 1,2,3,4 and REM. First four stages are commonly referred as Non-REM, and Night terrors arise in 3rd or 4th NREM stage, while on the other hand Nightmares happens in stage REM. Night terrors are usually experienced by kids with a low percentage of adults suffering from it. However, not only in kids but nightmares in adults are common equally. In nightmare disorder person has a little or full memory of every dream unlike in the case of night terrors.
There are also various types of nightmares with different explanations. Here we picked several most common nightmares and their meanings,
1. Falling off a cliff
This nightmare shows that the person feels helpless or overwhelmed.
Being trapped in elevator or room? This dream symbolizes confusion in person’s life.
Such Nightmares can be due to watching or reading horror stories.
This nightmare represents inner embracement or shame of any past event.
5. Being chased
Being chased by animal, people or supernatural creatures, these nightmares are due to stress or fear of something in life
Both Nightmares and Night terrors are caused by same disorders either mental or physical and are harmless. Yet, if you keep getting recurring nightmares you should have same treatment as of night terror disorder we mentioned above.