What Could Be Causing My Child’s Sleep Terror Disorder?

August 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Sleep Terror Disorder

Children between the ages of two and eight are the most apt to have sleep terror disorder, or night terrors. They don’t usually happen to older children, adolescents, or adults, though they can. However, in adolescents and adults, there is a different cause of sleep terror disorder and treatment for it. The most usual type of Sleep Terror Disorder that affects young children is not something to be worried or concerned about, but it is good to be informed.

In Younger Children

The definition of sleep terror disorder tells us that fifteen percent of children have sleep terror disorder, so it is not odd to have a child who has this condition. In children, episodes generally occur for a couple of weeks, then stop as suddenly as they started. Generally, children outgrow sleep terror disorder, and it is rarely seen over age ten.

The cause of sleep terror disorder in children has sometimes been linked to physical things. These include having a high fever or a bowel conditions – like constipation or irregular bowl movements or not having bowel movements at all. Getting enough sleep can be an important asset.

There is also some evidence that genetics can cause sleep terror disorder, so if you had it as a child, your children might also be “blessed” to have it.

Some experts believe that sleep terror disorder episodes are caused by unresolved emotional stress and issues of the day, such as a lost favorite toy or hearing an argument between the parents, watching disturbing violence on television, or hearing a scary story.

In Adolescents And Adults

Though it is unusual for adolescents and adults to have sleep terror disorder, it can happen. But in these age groups, the cause of sleep terror disorder is more apt to be linked to physiology of the body. The adult or teen might not be eating a good diet, or getting enough sleep. Untreated stressful events can also impact on sleep, and can cause sleep terror disorder. It has also been linked to the use of alcohol. With adults and adolescents, these are more apt to be trauma-based rather than genetic, and can be helped with anti-depressant medication and psychotherapy. Adults with night terrors also often have hypoglycemia. They are also more apt to be similar to abused or depressed people, with aggression, impaired memory, anger towards themselves, passivity, the ability to just ignore pain, and anxiety.

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