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Topic : 01/24 Dreams, Nightmares and Night Terrors

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Created on : Friday, January 20, 2006, 03:03:18 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

Dr. Phil's guests scream, punch, fight and even eat — all while they're sleeping. They suffer from nightmares, sleep terrors and other disorders that are destroying their lives. Scott's sleepwalking and sleep terrors have gotten so dangerous that he has attempted to smother his wife, Heather, with a pillow, has walked outside shirtless in freezing weather, and has even kicked Heather in the stomach when she was pregnant. Heather is not only concerned for her safety, but also for the safety of their two small kids. Then, Nathalie has been plagued by the same gruesome nightmare for 20 years, and worries that she's losing her sanity. What's behind these recurring dreams? Plus, Angela has been eating in her sleep for the past 15 years. She wakes up to find chocolate on her clothes, food wrappers in her bed — even tuna casserole on her fingers! Dr. Phil has advice for putting these sleep disorders to bed.  Join the discussion.

 

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January 24, 2006, 1:21 pm CST

Nightmares

I used to suffer from recurring nightmares.  It started when I was a child.  I was sexually abused by a stranger and I never told my parents when it happpened.  I was a depressed child from the age of 8 and I was put into therapy for the depression but I never even told the therapist what had happened to me.  I kept that secret for 10 years when I told my bestfriend.  Even after I told my bestfriend what happened the nightmares where still there.  I started having them every night instead of once a week or so.  I just kind of delt with it for years after.  When I got married I thought that would help it but it didn't.  My husband told me that I would talk and whine in my sleep.  He said that he would wake me up but I never remembered it.  One day my husband suggested that I finally tell my parents.  I could bear to tell them on the phone so I wrote them a letter telling them everything that happened.  I got a letter back from my parents telling me they were sorry that that happened to me and that they are sorry that I felt like I could never tell them that.  After I read that letter I took my mother's advise, which was to write down the trama on a piece of paper and put it in a drawer for a week.  After that week I took that piece of paper outside and burned it.  It may sound weird but I haven't had that nightmare since then.  I would suggest that to anybody that who has been in that situation.
 
January 24, 2006, 1:28 pm CST

REM behavior disorder- A treatable diagnosis

I am quite surprised that Dr Phil as of this point in the show that I have seen has not had a "sleep expert" on the show.  The American Sleep Disorders Association http://www.aasmnet.org/ has wonderful people who study just this type of disorde mentioned by the gentleman on the show.  THere are thousands of CERFIFIED Sleep Specialists and Sleep Centers around the country to seek help from. 

  

The gentleman who hit his wife and otherwise acted out his dreams appears to have REM Behavior Disorder - it is rare but n essence you are NOT paralized while you dream so you act things out.    THere is treatment for this type of problem.  I would suggest anyone who has a sleep issue to visit the website.  It has a test you can take about sleep.  It also has a physician locator and that would ensure quality in your care and diagnosis.     

 

 
January 24, 2006, 1:31 pm CST

Sleep Specialists

Quote From: monette

Hi there, 

  

I have been with my husband for about 6 years now.   Almost every night he has a night terror.  They involve him jolting up in bed and running to the bathroom to dislodge something in his throat that he is choking on.  These things can range from something as small as a key to something as large as an animal, like a raccoon. 

  

Over the years we have had some positive progress in helping him with this problem.  Sometimes I am able to wake him up from his deep sleep by rubbing his back and just talking to him and telling him it's just a dream.  Other times he snaps himself out of it by telling himself it's just a dream.  We have even had him talk to a psychiatrist and he attributed his dreams to asthma, which we are not convinced of that. 

 

He has been having these dreams since he was a young boy.  He is now 35.  I know we would both love it if these dreams would stop, but do not know what we can do to make it happen. 

 

If anyone out there has any suggestions on how we can try to get control of these night terrors, it would be greatly appreciated. 

COntact a Board Certified Sleep Specialist thru the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or American Sleep Disorders Association  - Go to a LARGE sleep center where they do a lot of research! http://www.aasmnet.org/
 
January 24, 2006, 1:36 pm CST

Nightmares

I have a problem with nightmares. Most come from my past and experience. One particular dream I have had since I was a young child. I am in a red vehicle behind the wheel and going down a hill. There is a brick building on the corner and I can not control the steering wheel and the brakes don't work. Having had this dream I have had a fear of getting a red vehicle so irony now I have had a red Jeep for 3 years because we got it cheap and really needed a vehicle. It scares me at times to drive it.  I keep telling myself it is not a rational fear and my hubby says I need to get over it. Yet white knuckles I try. 

  

I have suffered from ptsd in my past and have nightmares related. I have hit my husband in my sleep not on purpose. I have kicked and screamed and yelled help. Also I talk in my sleep and once in a bluemoon I have slept walked. 

  

To try to deal  with this in my early adulthood I worked 3 jobs and was going to college. The thought was that if I kept busy I could not think of my past and well not think at all ,but at the task at hand. This did not end very well 6 months in I got violently ill. Stomach extremely sick and exhausted warning a little vivid here: 

I got home from the 40 hour a week graveyard shift job and my stomach was terrible cramps I had no work that day till 4 which means I could finally try and get some sleep. I spent some days with no sleep at all since two jobs were 20 hours a week and then the 40 hour a week one and then the course at the college. So I basically started throwing up and the other end. Finally got the other end calm downed I went and got in bed and basically passed out. While I was sleeping almost for an entire week I was throwing up and just covered it over and continued to sleep. I was totally exhausted I was mentally and physically exhausted.  

  

This is a do not do thing. On top the ptsd was eating away at me from the inside out. 

Not talking was the biggest mistake I ever made. Talking about events in my life has helped if I knew that could help so much I would have opened up much sooner unfortunately now I am a open book...lol 

  

I still have nightmares but not as often and I actually can get 8 hours sleep which helps me mentally be able to deal with day to day. There are times I am so stressed but getting sleep has helped. 

  

For those out there having nightmares because of the past and experiences all I can say is talk and talk and talk until you can get it out enough to handle it. Learn from it and own up to life. 

It is not easy. Can rip you apart ,but it will also help you be more solid when you put the pieces back together. 

  

I still have nightmares and times I don't sleep ,but its so much better! 

 
January 24, 2006, 1:37 pm CST

Nathalie's nighmare

I have beed diagnosed with a sleep disorder and I can relate to Nathalie's nightmare in some ways. I used to have bad nightmare, not always the same one. I am now sleeping with a breathing machine and now have no problems. With Nathalie setting her alarm for every 1 1/2 hour there is noway she is getting the proper sleep. I hope Dr Phil will have a follow up show on Nathalie, because I would like to know her out come. She is a lovely lady and I would love to meet someone of her nature.  

 
January 24, 2006, 1:39 pm CST

Night Terrors

Quote From: agtemt

My son is currently 2 1/2 years old. When he was just under 2 years old he started having crying fits during the night. Usually they would stop on their own and he would fall asleep again. I usually wouldnt even go into his room, i didnt think much of it. Just that something woke him he was a little upset and fell back asleep. He had been sleeping through the night since he was 3 months old with out any trouble untill this. Then about 3 months ago i heard him SCREAM at aboiut 1 am like someone/thing was attacking him. I ran into his room to find him running backwards away from his bed arms extended screaming his head off. I picked him up and carried him out to the living room. He had no clue I was even there. After a few minutes he looked up at me said hi and asked me for a drink. Like nothing at all had happened. He had his drink and went back to bed. 4 other times that night this happened. And every night that week between 1 and 3am he had this happen at least once. I did some reasearch online and everything pionited towards night terrors. I put a night light in his room as one of the pages suggested and did alot of praying and he hasnt had anything this severe for about 2 months now. Im wondering if he is ok now or is there a chance that this will continue untill hes an adult and become as bad as some of the people on the show.
My son will be 9 in April. He has suffered from night terrors since the age of 2 1/2. When he was young they were really bad. He would have them  sometimes 3 or 4 times a night for a few nights in a row and some of them would last up to 2 hours!! He also had them during naps. We took him to neurologists,  a sleep apnea clinic, had him checked for seizures----nothing!!! They all said he would eventually outgrow them. The only thing that seemed to help a bit was having his adnoids out. They were blocking a large part of his airway causing sleep apnea. He still has night terrors, but not as often and not usually as bad.  He did have some only a few nights ago that were as bad as when he was little. He had 4 episodes in 2 hours where he screamed like he was being attacked and he got up and tried to run. Even when he was small he never tried to run, but he would swing and go crazy. I even tried to contact Dr. Phil a couple of years ago with no success. Most people including doctors don't know enough about what causes terrors to be able to cure them. My son also went months at a time with nothing, then all of the sudden they would return. It was and still is very discouraging. I hope this doesn't happen with you. I feel the worst for my son because through all of this he still has to get up and function with little or no sympathy from teachers, etc. becasue they don't know much about or even understand what a real night terror is.
 
January 24, 2006, 1:42 pm CST

history...leading up to night terrors!!!!

It's nice to know that I'm not losing it! I've had a history of sleeping problems since I can last remember! As a toddler up until about 13 years old I had been suffering from sleep issues. I would scream and cry of fear of falling asleep and having a terrible dream...which happened often. Needless to say I had been lacking major sleep for years. When I was 11-13, I would see things in the night and was terrified to close my eyes! Many times I could only really sleep during the day or at least better if someone was sleeping in the same room as me. After the hallucinations had stopped, I began suffering from SEVERE, but occasional night terrors. See, I haven't yet figured out if I'm really awake or asleep, but I do know that I certainly FEEL like I'm awake. I usually feel a heavy pressure along the surface of my body. I know that this "presence" is bad because I feel it's "bad" energy. It fights me! I won't let me scream, it won't let me talk, and it won't let me move a limb! It won't even let me open my eyes! Every now and again, my eyes slightly fight open and I can see a dark fog moving around me! It terrifies me so much that I fight to stay awake, so that it doesn't happen again in a night (which it sometime does). It has scared me so much that I've actually driven to my boyfriend's house at 3 am, so I could sleep next to him, as well as waking my father up in the middle of the night to sleep on my couch! I've been sooo lucky that I've been night terror free for the last 8 months! I pray to God at night that he protects me from this thing.... dream?? I better not have JINXED myself!
 
January 24, 2006, 2:02 pm CST

Nightmares

  When I was about 8 or 9 I began having nightmares.  They became more intense and more frequent as I got older.  They were painful, I couldn't wake up, move, or fight it off.  I was also fully aware during the dream, that I was having a nightmare and where I was.  I was terrified.  When I finally did awake I was sucked back in and forced to deal with it again unless I got up and walked around for 5 min.  Finally when I was about 21 I was having some serious anxiety issues and talked to my doctor.  She prescribed Lexapro for me and it also worked for my nightmares. I wasn't attacked by these nightmares anymore.  I thought I was cured.  After being on Lexapro for 9 months, I weened myself off of them.  My nightmares returned short there after.  Not as frequent but still arose once a week to haunt me.  A few months later I started an excercise program and haven't had a nightmare since.  I am assuming that releasing some energy and calming down eliminating my stress through excercise did the trick.  It is so nice to have a restful night sleep and some good advice to help me and others I know understand what is(was) happening.    Melissa
 
January 24, 2006, 2:05 pm CST

Inner child work has helped me.

I recently began working on "speaking to my inner child"  This has cut my sleep disruption tremendously.  I "speak" to her and ask her to let me sleep peacefully and as crazy as that sounds, it's really helped me.  I haven't had any  disruptions since I began this form of self therapy.  Check it out!
 
January 24, 2006, 2:31 pm CST

Ambien

Quote From: ruttzinn

I was on Ambien to help me sleep.  One side effect that my doctor and I finally figured out was "sleep cooking" and "sleep eating"...mostly carbs, for some reason.  My doctor (Niti Thakur, M.D., Lansing Michigan, at the Beals Institute - arthritis, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases) questioned other of her patients also on Ambien and found others with "sleep cooking" and "sleep eating" side effects.  I was taken off of Ambien because I have a gas stove and I am known for NOT knowing how to cook and family and friends were REAL concerned that I was attempting to cook with absolutly NO supervision - YUP - I'm 60 -  and I live with my dog Lady Jane (who was also getting a bit pudgy - for some "unknown" reason) but I agree the kitchen is not a place that I ever feel safe.  Plus the fact that I had fallen and broken several glass dishes cutting myself badly and only realizing it after waking up. 

  

I just thought your guest with the problem of eating during the night with no recollection might be on a sleep medication with similar side effects. 

  

Love your show! 

Maggie Rutter 

Lyons, MI 

  

  

I, too, eat in my sleep.  I am on Ambien.  I found out a couple of months ago that my cousin had the same problem when she was on Ambien.  When I spoke with my doctor he said that yes, it is a rare side effect.  My cousin found that if she turned out the light and was able to go to sleep within 15 minutes of taking the medication she was alright. I haven't been able to go to sleep that quickly yet. 

  

Dr. Phil said to lock up the food.  I am afraid that if I can't get to the food, I will try to drive to the store.  If I lock up the car keys, I will walk out in my nightgown.  It is scarey to wake up the next morning and find that you have done something that you don't remember at all. 

 
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