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Nightmare or hallucination in 4 year old?
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Nightmare or hallucination in 4 year old?

So much for me trying to break my addiction from here, lol. I know I said I'm going to try and spend less time on here but something happened last night that was pretty freaky to me. I was wondering if you all could tell me if this is normal?
Last night around 1:30am I heard my 4 year old jabbering and crying in his room. I went in there and he was standing across the room acting afraid. I kept talking to him soothingly trying to get him back in bed. He wouldn't go. I led him to the bathroom to go potty and then brought him back to his room. He still refused to get back in bed and kept saying something that I finally understood he was saying "bugs". I asked him if he thought there were bugs in his bed and he said "Yes, bugs". I kept reassuring him there were no bugs and I sat on his bed and smoothed it out and showed him there were no bugs and kept trying to reassure him. He wouldn't come to me so I picked him up and sat down in the bed with him in my lap and he was freaking out, arching his back and trying not to touch the bed. I finally got him laid down. He wouldn't put his head on his pillow, he laid his head on his stuffed dog. I went back to bed and heard him a few minutes later crying and saying "bugs" again. I went in and he was standing across the room, trembling and pointing to his bed. He kept whispering "bugs in bed". Finally, I gathered him up with his pillow and stuffed dog and brought him to our bed. As we were leaving his room he stopped and looked down and said "rocks" and walked very gingerly across his doorway as if he were walking across rocks.

He laid down in our bed but was clinging to me and curled all up into me. I couldn't gently move him over. He wouldn't do it. A couple of times he sat up like he was startled and stared at his pillow and said "bugs". Again I kept telling him there were no bugs. He laid down on his stuffed dog again. Then when I moved or shifted he sat up again startled and I went to move his dog and he stared at it like he was afraid and started crying and acting like he was trying to get away. I couldn't calm him down. Every time I touched him trying to reassure him he would jump as if I were the bugs. Finally he freaked out again and jumped out of our bed and kept crying bugs over and over.
This time my husband got up with him and carried him back to our bed and had him lay directly on his chest and he fell asleep that way, finally. I think he was finally exhausted.

This morning he got up and said "bugs" again but didn't act as afraid. Then he said something like "Bugs bite you". And I reassured him no bugs were going to bite you. He said "Bugs outside" and I said "Yes, bugs are outside". Then I made his breakfast and went to sit him down and he stared at his chair and said "bugs". I told him there were no bugs in his chair.
So it's still on his mind, apparently.

The thing that concerns me is I've never seen him act like this. I'm assuming he had some sort of bad dream but I am very careful about what he watches on TV. He only sees Disney or PBS shows like Seseme Street, etc.
If you all could have seen the way he was acting I think you would have been concerned too. If it was a bad dream why was he still acting like there were bugs everywhere when he was wide awake? Why was he freaking out so bad? Did my son have a bad nightmare or did he have some sort of hallucination and was seeing bugs everywhere? This was pretty freaky for both me and my husband. I'm just not sure what to think. Is this normal for a child of this age?
Thank you. Sorry so long. I tried to post in the Ask A Doctor Forum but it was full. I may try the Childhood Behavior one but people don't seem to answer that one as well and I just know some of you all better here.
Can anyone tell me what happened?
April
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pm off list - i have to talk to you.
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203342_tn?1328740807
??? I don't understand?
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i pm'd you on this topic, but it isn't in my "sent" did you get it?
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sent another looks like it went through
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184674_tn?1360864093
It sounds to me like he had a very vivid dream and can't differentiate it from reality. I've heard that for many children, separating dreams from reality is very difficult for them.

I have a young cousin who, when she was between 3-6 years old (she's 8½ now), would not sleep through the night because of "bad dreams." She drove my aunt and uncle nuts. Basically what happened, or so they say what their pedi told them about her, is that even though she might not have nightmares all that often, the memories of them stick with her because a dream, to a young child, is the same thing as reality basically. Their minds are not mature enough to differentiate between the most vivid dreams. So the dreams that were most memorable are still scary even days afterwards, because to a child, it's like they really experienced it in reality.
For my cousin, she became afraid to go to sleep. She would not go to sleep in her room by herself for a couple of years; her mom had to sit by her bed or in her doorway. Then oftentimes she'd wake up a few times during the night, whether or not she even had a dream, because when she'd wake up, the first thing that would come to her mind would be the memory of one of the bad dreams. Being in the dark asleep became associated with what she couldn't tell were dreams and reality.
She outgrew this, but it took a few years.
That's the best conclusion I can come to for you--I hope it helps.
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203342_tn?1328740807
Thanks guys. AJ, you've given me comfort that it's just a dream and he'll outgrow this hopefully. That makes me feel better.
Thanks again!
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203342_tn?1328740807
It happened again last night. This is the third time now. This time it was bees, I guess. He kept saying something was eating him and freaking out. He was slapping his head, legs, etc. as if to get them off of them. This is really freaking me out. I tried to take him to bed but he kept popping back up and pointing to something. Of course, there was nothing on the room. And he'd jump up again acting like he was trying to brush off the bugs. He said he wanted to go sleep in the chair in the living room so my husband brought him out to the recliner with him and tried to lay down with him but he kept getting up and going on about this. I could hear it. This went on for almost 2 hours, guys, before he finally wore himself out and my husband was able to get him to lay down in his bed.
I don't know what to think about this. My husband said he did see some bees outside this week. I told my husband if it was a bad dream why was he still going on about it after he woke up and he said he wasn't sure he was completely awake. But this went on for 2 hours! I don't know what to think. It's really kind of freaking me out. Is this normal??!!
AJ, do you still think these are just vivid dreams? I don't know how to deal with this and help him.
He's acting normal this morning, just a little crabby from not getting enough sleep. I think we're all a little crabby and exhausted. I just don't know what to think of this.
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172023_tn?1334675884
Its so hard to say with children of this age.  He could have seen some bugs or bees outside, and became frightened, and now its spilling into his dreams.

I'm not sure what to say about it.  Can you get a post on the Expert community...Dr. Kennedy's community?  
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172023_tn?1334675884
Never mind...I see you did!  Hope he has some good answers for you.
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203342_tn?1328740807
Yes, thank you Peek. I actually got through to the expert forum! I've tried and tried before and they were always full. Thanks for responding. I'm sorry if I took up room on here. You can remove it if you like.
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172023_tn?1334675884
No, not at all.  I bet many children and families deal with similar things.  Please post back to let us know what he said.
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270405_tn?1293039221
It sounds like night terrors.  I used to get them when I was a kid, really bad.  To the point where I couldn't even be in a room alone at night.  There were times I would be sitting up in my bed talking to whatever/whoever in my dreams, but I was still asleep.  My eyes would even be open.   I think I even slept walked a little and would talk to my parents, but I wouldn't be awake.  

My oldest daughter has night terrors sometimes now too.  Sometimes it carries over to day time if she has them more in the morning time.  Sometimes she remembers them, sometimes she doesn't.  It will be interesting to see what the expert says!  I'll have to go check it out.
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203342_tn?1328740807
The doctor wrote back and said if he didn't remember anything the next morning it was probably night terrors. If he did remember then it was probably a nightmare. So, I guess these were just bad nightmares. Still, they were pretty freaky. My other kids never had that bad of nightmares.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and for being so kind. Hopefully, he won't have anymore or will simply outgrow this!
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172023_tn?1334675884
I wonder if you can do some reading about bees, or make some silly cut outs of funny looking bees or bugs to decorate the fridge with, or anyplace around the house.  

Or make up stories about friendly bees or bugs?  You know, make them into friends?
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552767_tn?1262191776
There's an animated disney movie from years back called "It's a bug's life". I know your son is a little young for movies but maybe it would be a way for him to see that bugs aren't scary or make them into friends as peekawho suggested. It has been years since I saw it though, I don't recall the plot very clearly so if you do decide to show it to him maybe look it up yourself first in case it ends up scaring him more.
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203342_tn?1328740807
Thanks, we do actually have that movie "It's a bug's life" and also "Bees". He likes the movies and acts fine during the day. He doesn't act like he's afraid of anything. That's what I find so puzzling about these nightmares. I just don't understand where it's coming from.
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Avatar_n_tn
My son who is 3 1/2 years old been seeing vision since he been 1 years old. He will rasie his arms up and talk with them when he was younger. Now what every he sees is scarying him and he start to cry and scream NO STOP.... MOMMY THEY HURTING ME.... He finally told me that they are white and has a bright light around them. It went from having 1 every 3-4 months to having 4-5 a day. But it all thro out the day. And he scary to go to bed at night. He is Autism and I dont know if it has anything to do with that.
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