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Continuing Night Terrors of my 17 yr old twin boys
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Continuing Night Terrors of my 17 yr old twin boys

Dr. Park,
We need your advice.  Our twin boys (17 yrs old) have suffered from extreme night terrors.  It began when they were about 10 yrs old and have gotten progressively worse.  They have been to a neurologist who put them on Clonazapam.  The adjustment of the medication never worked out.  Either the twins were too groggy the next day, or they continued their night terrors due to the smaller dosage.

A friend recommended that we try a child psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist took a different approach and thought perhaps the boys were having anxiety issues and put them on Celexa.  Although the night terrors have subsided a little, we are still having major problems with them.

Their bedroom is in the basement, so we don't hear a whole lot of what goes on unless they get up screaming or moving around (at least 3x a night!).  Recently, we took a trip and the boys were in the hotel room with us.  My husband and I did not get any sleep because both boys were up screaming and moving around.  It's crazy!  It's like dawn of the dead at our house, and we are in dire need of help.  Our boys will soon be out of the house in two yrs and off to college.  We are afraid that if we don't get this under control, something bad will happen that WE as parents can't control such as other college students playing mean tricks on them!  The boys never wake up, but they dream of the most awful, scary things!  They walk, talk, and act out.  They have even gotten violent with it.

The other night, one of the boys was screaming and my husband found him curled up in the corner of the room, eyes wide open, sweating, and his heart just pounding out of his chest.  We are so afraid that something is going to happen to them if this is not under control soon.  We don't know who to turn to.  We live very close to St. Louis, MO and you would think that there would be someone in St. Louis that can help us!  We have yet to find that person.

Please advise!

Thanks!

Charlotte
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
I would suggest a consultation with a sleep physician first before considering other options. There are numerous studies showing that night terrors, sleep waking, eating or even bedwetting can be due to untreated obstructive sleep apnea. If you or your husband snore, even more reason to suspect a sleep-breathing problem in your boys.
3 Comments
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1355118_tn?1298568479
Hi, I can understand the stress you are going through. From your history it is clear that there going through night terrors. But, daily 2-3 episodes are quite significant and look atypical of night terror.
Firstly, you need to rule out any mental trauma or stress they are going through. Because under such conditions the incidence of night terror increases.
Secondly, in the environment they are sleeping should be secure and the light can be kept on in the night. The night terror is usually seen in second half of the sleep.
Third and most important cause to be ruled out is presence of concomitant seizures or epilepsy or fits. To rule this out they need to consult a neurologist. They need to undergo EEG recordings during the sleep which will diagnose the abnormal pattern of the brains and as well as seizures.
If the seizures are diagnosed then they can be put on anti epileptics, which can help them to alleviate this condition.
I suggest you to take them to nearest neurologist in your area. Take care and regards.
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Avatar_f_tn
We appreciate your advice!  Thank you!  
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