Friday, July 3, 2009

Case Study: Night Terrors

I recently found a study on pub med that I thought as informative. The study consisted of taking individuals that have sleep terrors and sleep walking and interview them after a period of time.

The results of the study showed that the individuals with sleep walking had an increased amount of anxiety, depression, and guilt along with other things. The individuals with sleep terrors didn’t really show much of these types of traits at all. It would seem from this information that the long term effect of night terrors doesn’t really have a lasting effect on our moods or any other aspects of our lives. It might scare us when we are getting ready to sleep if we have another episode but the thing is that many people who experience the night terror don’t remember what they were running from. The mind may just not remember it and is incapable of applying that memory to the world. It very well could be that many people that are affected by night terrors are really misdiagnosed with a different disorder such as sleep paralysis and the old hag syndrome which is completely different. Sleep paralysis and the Old hag syndrome are easily remembered events due to the stages of sleep they occur as well as the modulation of the brain at that time.

The last few days I have been reading up on a forum that is a support group for individuals with schizophrenia. Many of the individuals on the site and that are diagnosed with schizophrenia complained of having horrible nightmares as well as sleep walking before they had schizophrenia or even after. It’s very possible that these type of bad dreams are evidence of a psychological problem that is growing in our minds, a possible lack of chemical neurotransmitters that are causing the dreams if not the ability to remember them. In many cases I have seen individuals that have sleep problems ending up with full blown disorders after a while. Maybe if we paid more attention to our sleep and what our dreams are trying to tell us we could have a warning into what is to come if we don’t fix it now.

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