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September 25, 2005

Nightmares & Night Terrors in Bipolar Disorder

Nightmares and night terrors are a commonly reported symptom of bipolar disorder. Those with bipolar disorder often have nightmares filled with death and injury themes, which can be especially frightening for children with bipolar disorder. Children seem to suffer more from nightmares as well as night terrors than their adult counterparts.

"Night terrors and such conditions as sleepwalking, restless leg syndrome, bruxism (teeth grinding) make up a group of arousal disorders called parasomnias. Night terrors do not occur during REM sleep and are not dreams, although they have nightmarish elements. They occur instead either during deep sleep or in a transitional state between deep and dreaming sleep and are a form of confusional arousal disorder....Night terrors are rare in adults, yet Papolos and Papolos cited a 1999 study by Dr. Maurice Ohayon which found that bipolar disorders and depression with anxiety were the most common factors associated with adults who reported night terrors" (About.com).

Children tend to have nightmares and night terrors in which they feel threatened on some level. Sometimes this is from a person in the night terror or maybe a fear of being abandoned by parents. Night terrors are strange because the person often will seem to be awake but will not recognize anyone and may feel extreme amounts of fear. They may scream, thrash about, or run. Night terrors are incredibly frightening and can lead a person to have an anxiety of sleeping and the terrors that come from it. Treating night terrors before they get out of hand is important for a persons mental and emotional health.

SOURCE: Nightmares and Night Terrors. About.com.

To learn more about night terrors, click here.

Read a case study of someone who was treated for bipolar disorder while suffering from nightmares and night terrors.

To learn more about the treatment of night terrors go to Healthscout.com's Health Encyclopedia.

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