- Published: November 10, 2022
- Updated: November 10, 2022
- University / College: Washington University in St. Louis
- Level: Masters
- Language: English
- Downloads: 29
Sleep Terror Disorder Children below the ages of 10 undergo many psychological problems. Sleep terror is one of the common problems among children of this age group. “ Sleep terror disorder is defined as repeated temporary arousal from sleep, during which the affected person appears and acts extremely frightened. Sleep terror disorder is sometimes referred to as pavor nocturnus when it occurs in children, and incubus when it occurs in adults” (Sleep Terror Disorder). One of the surprising facts about this disease is that it is seen mostly among boys in the age group of 5-7. Girls of this age group comparatively less affected by sleep terrors. Adults usually are less vulnerable to sleep terror. Fever, lack of sleep, stress and other emotional problems are believed to the reasons of sleep terror. This paper briefly analyses the occurrence, symptoms and treatment of sleep terror.
“ Night terrors are most common during the first third of the night, often between midnight and 2 a. m” (Night Terror). Children woke up in a violent mood when they face sleep terror. They often scream and create a fearful atmosphere to the family members. They may loss awareness about the surrounding, utter peculiar words and behave abnormally under the influence of sleep terror. Fast breathing and sweating are other observable symptoms of sleep terror. “ Intense fear and signs of autonomic arousal, such as tachycardia, rapid breathing, and sweating, during each episode, relative unresponsiveness to efforts of others to comfort the person during the episode etc are other symptoms of sleep terror” (Sleep Terror Symptoms). The abnormal behavior may settle within 10-20 minutes. Many people do not know the differences between nightmares and sleep terror. While nightmare usually occurs early morning, sleep terror occurs mostly at midnight or immediately after midnight.
The chances of occurrence of sleep terror are around 10 times more among Children with family history of sleep terror. In other words heredity plays an important role in causing sleep terror as in the case of other psychological diseases. Moreover, fearful experiences from the environment may also cause sleep terror.
Sleep terror usually disappears after the age of 10. Under normal circumstances, sleep terror needs no treatment. However, in chronic situations or when the sleep terror occurs quite regularly, service of a psychologist is inevitable. “ American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests that parents consult a child psychiatrist if the child has several episodes of sleep terror each night, if the episodes occur every night for weeks at a time, or if they interfere with the childs daytime activities” (Sleep terror disorder). Coping mechanisms and stress reduction strategies are usually used as the treatment options. In most of the cases, the counseling by an experienced psychologist may eliminate the sleep terror problems among children. However, there are certain cases which need medicines along with counseling. “ Benzodiazepine medicines (such as diazepam) used at bedtime will often reduce night terrors” (Night Terror).
To conclude, sleep terror is a psychological disorder commonly seen among boys in the age groups of 5-7. It is caused by factors related to heredity and environment. In severe cases, the services of a psychologist is necessary to treat sleep disorder.
“ Night Terror”. Web. 20 February 2013.
“ Sleep Terror Symptoms”. Web. 20 February 2013.
“ Sleep Terror Disorder”. Web. 20 February 2013.
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