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Can't move, can't talk episodes
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Can't move, can't talk episodes

My teenage daughter who is in excellent health has begun to have episodes that we can't find any explaination for.  These episodes have only happened when she is lying down. either just before going to sleep or just after having woken up.  She feels "pressure or weight" all over her body and is unable to move any muscles or speak. She seems certain that she is fully awake during this time. And feels like she is conciously trying to "fight " the immobility, Is aware of her breathing and heart rate but can't move or call for help.  The first time this happened, she was really freaked-out about it and came and woke me up..very upset. As they have happened more often, she is not as scared, because she knows the episode will end.

She thinks that the first episode happened over a year ago.  Then happened again nearly a month ago, and has happened a few times since then.  Last Sunday morning, she had the episode 3 times.
I have never heard about anything like this...and don't even know what kind (specialist) of a doctor to seek help from.

Any help in what direction we should go with this would be appreciated.  Again, she is adament about being awake through these periods of time.
themother
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I don't have a clear diagnosis that fit these symptoms.

Normally problems with movement or speech can be referred out to a neurologist.  Basic workup would include brain imaging to exclude central neurologic disease.

Another consideration would be sleep paralysis, a disease that is often associated with narcolepsy.   More information can be found here:
http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/paralysis.html

A referral to a sleep expert, or obtaining a sleep study can be considered.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
kevinmd_
11 Comments
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Simple....she doesnt have to be afraid, what I am about to say may sound crazy. Keep and open mind. This should not be a scary experience although sometimes when you do not know what is happening it can be. I have always done this. It is called astral travel. It happens to people who are more in tune or who have a lineage of those more in tune with the spiritual world. Your soul is not a part of your body but more inside your body. Sometime during sleep it leaves but is never unattached. There are so many things in this world that people do not understand and one of them is that we are such a small part of this large universe. We are all souls and we do not die. We inhabit these crapy bodies to do our duties on earth. We sleep to rejuvinate our souls! Sometimes after traumitizing times on earth our souls may leave our bodies to visit certain healing places which we are lead to by our spirit guides...God gave all of us atleast one, however we have many angels. We also may choose, in our sleep ofcourse, to visit past loved ones or even drop in on others! They can not see us though as we are there in spirit. The alarming paralyzing fear happens when we our physical body starts to awaken before our spirit is back in form inside. We are awake but cant move, we hear buzzing, we feel as if we are being held down by an evil force who wants to eat our unborn children.....No.  Does this not all pass? Yes, because quickly, faster than you realize you have returned to your body and can now move again.  I know how scary this is as I used to have the same thing. Now before I go to sleep I say that I only want to leave if I can have a quick return. You can never be lost or not find your way back. We are intricate spirits and way to smart to "get lost". I always ask before I go to bed to have healed whatever damage may have been done during the day in this wonderful world, sarcasm here, to be healed while I am asleep or off visiting the spirit world. Some people can even remember vividly hovering above their bodies or being on the celing to then flying out of the window and into mountains.  I like to think of it as a nice little escape! Have fun!
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We usually never remember being out of our bodies, although some do as I stated. Dont traumatize her by taking her to doctors. Google "astral travel" and she will be like OMG you are right!!!
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I actually just experienced what you described last night. It's called "sleep paralysis" and there is nothing to be afraid of. It can't harm your daughter.

For example during my episode last night - My mind woke up but my body was still sleeping, I was dreaming but could hear my television in the background but I couldn't move, I couldn't open my eyes and I couldn't say anything. I was also hearing a whirring/ringing noise in my ears. After a few moments I was able to let out a little moan and I woke up. The episode may seem like it last minuets or longer but it really only lasts seconds.
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alliehope, see what I wrote above
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Also have her see a sleep specialist in case it's narcoplexy or some other sleep-disorder. Her sensations on waking up, if getting more and more frequent, may be a medical condition that needs attention. A primary care physician might be the best one to make the right referral to the right specialist in this case. She may have other problems during sleep as well, that nobody would know unless they monitored her during her entire sleep cycle. Often special monitoring equipment (non-painful) are used in order to see what the problem is.
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Sleep paralysis  - it began for me when i was in college.  For a while i would have several episodes while falling asleep or waking.  I learned to whimper which would either wake me up or my husband so that he could wake me up.  It was really scary at first - i thought this was what being in a coma might be like.  I rarely ever get it now, it was especially prevalent when I kept abnormal sleep hours.  She should try to keep regular hours and avoid fatigue - it will decrease the amount of episodes.

I freaked my brother and sister out when I related a conversation they had while I was "asleep."  IYour daughter will be fine.  I've never really discussed it much to w/ a doctor, but you may want to have her checked out.  I understand that it is related to narcolepsy.  You can also have halllucinations while in that state (i.e., you know your laying in bed, but then imagine a phone ringing when it's not there, see something normallly not in the room).  It is thought that many people who have been "abducted by aliens and probed" were really in sleep paralysis.

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Everyone has had this happen to them.  If you have ever smoked pot, it feels like your really stoned, a kind of a tingle/"spongy" feeling.  Your mind just wakes up b4 your body.  If you get really good at this, you can make yourself go back to sleep b4 u fully awake and now know that you are in a sleep/ dreaming state and conciously do anything you want, like fly.  BUt it is hard to do this for long. After a while, your body and mind figure it out and you wake up.
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It sounds like sleep paralysis, which has absolutely nothing to do with "astral travel" or drugs. It's idiopathic.

My Mom and grandfather have had a few sleep paralysis 'episodes' and it is frightening when it happens, even though they know that in 10 or 20 seconds they'll be fine, and able to move normally.

Some people apparently experience sleep paralysis as having some frightening creature/human sitting on their chest, crushing them and preventing them from breathing or moving; it's been called 'the old hag syndrome'.
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I have had the same thing happen - sleep paralysis.  The first time it happened, I woke up and I was frozen and couldn't move my arms or legs or call out.  I clearly saw a shadow standing there.  I tried to bang on the wall of the room where my son was sleeping to wake him up but I couldn't move my arms or legs.  I tried to scream out but only a whisper would come out.  Since then it has happened again but now I just see really blurry and grainy when I wake up.  I have also had the feeling of pressure on my chest.  It's a very scary feeling because you are so vulnerable.  I started researching it after it kept happening and found out it is sleep paralysis.  The article I read suggested that it happens more frequently when you sleep on your back - which I found out is true.  They said sleeping on your side or stomach will cure the problem and it has worked for me.  
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Hi--hope you're still reading. This sounds like sleep paralysis, and it happens to me when I'm over-tired. Here's a trick: even when you're completely paralyzed, you can always move your eyes, and sometimes your tongue. Moving your eyes and tongue will often break the paralysis.
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