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3 yr old Child Night Hallucinations

My 3 yr old daughter has woken up twice in the last 3 days at approx. 3am.  Came into my bed and started to hallucinate. (She had done this once before approx. 1 mth ago, seeing bugs) She was clearly awake.  It lasted the 1st night about 2-3 hours before she fell asleep and the second night not as long.

She vividly described what she was seeing.  She woke up with pimples on her body, then saw them on mine.  She then saw letters falling from the sky.  She saw a monkey, a boy on the ceiling fan, and other various things.  She would wisper and point to things and tell me what she saw.  I could tell that she was scared and unsure when I told her that there was nothing there.  I  kept telling her to close her eyes and think of happy thoughts but she couldn't fall asleep.  Finally she said she wanted to leave my room.  When we went to leave she looked on the ground and jolted, turned to me and frantically asked me to pick her up because there was stuff all over the ground.  So I carried her to the bathroom 1st.  We both went potty (lol) so I knew she was completely awake!  Then went to her room.  I thought it seemed like she was finally getting better util it started to happen again.  But it only lasted a short time before she fell asleep.

The following day I asked her about it and she described the things she saw in detail.  She remembered everything!  This bothered me for days!!  I asked a Therapist friend about this, she asked if Epilepsy runs in my family and it does.  Also we have had a lot of trauma in our family this year.  My mother recently passed away and I have taken it hard.  My cildren obviously can see that.  As well as we sold our house packed all of our things in PODS and stayed in a temp. house for a month (where the 1st episode happened) Now we are staying with my inlaws until our house is built.  I do not know if this could be somthing really serious physically, emotionally, or mentally.  I went to my pediatrician and she brushed it off as night terrors but I have read that night terrors are not like this.  Children usually don't remember and don't wake up during night terrors.  She was clearly hallucinating in front of my eyes and telling me about it while it was happening.

Please if you have any information for me that won't leave me questioning this I would really appreciate it.  Or if there is a website I can go to as well that would be great.  I have tried to find more info with no luck.

Thank you,
Scared and concerned parent, Kristenbs
9 Responses
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242606 tn?1243782648
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I agree with you that your daughter's behaviors are not typical of night terrors, though it can't be ruled out. A more likely explanation is that she experienced hypnagogic sensations, which are very vivid experiences during the phase of either falling asleep or waking up (if waking up, often the term hypnapompic sensations/hallucinations is employed). Had you not already spoken with your daughter's pediatrician, I would have suggested doing so because such experiences can be symptomatic of, or associated with, certain seizure disorders. But that is not a likely possibility.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments.  I did in fact speak to my pediatrician, although she has not seen my child yet.  She seems to think that if it were a seisure disorder I would see nuerological signs during the day as well as night.  Is that true?
Kristenbs
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242606 tn?1243782648
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Yes, it is true.
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Avatar universal
I can sympathize with you on this subject. My now 14 year old son had night hallucinations for almost a year when he was just 5.  It was exhausting to say the least.  Extremely vivid just as you explained he said a family of skeletons lived in our bedrooms.  It was amazing how precise and clear he was about everything he saw explaining it all in detail and never changed what he said  even though at times I and the therapist(s) involved tried to trick him.  It was waaaaay to freaky for even the most incrediable imagination to make up yet alone a little boy.  I was scared thinking all kinds of weird things were going on including the unexplained  relating to the supernatural.  After months of therapy with different doctors and no success I decided it was time to move house.  It stopped immediately.  The strangest thing is is that after we moved he has no recollection of that experience.  Spooky but true.  Good luck!!!
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Avatar universal
I just wanted to add that my son was also fully awake while telling me about the skeletons, it was like a blow by blow as it happened commentary ... very frightening.
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Avatar universal
WOW; i can totally relate to how you are feeling.  My now 11 yr old, at age 4, after a lot of trauma as well, would see and feel angels slapping him on the face calling him stupid.  he has hallucinated sparatically ever since then.  he does have a seizure disorder, we think the doctors cannot confirm, just suspect and confirm slowed brain waves... my son has been hospitalized many many times, because his hallucinations started telling him to hurt himself and his younger brother and me.
i would DEFENITELY watch for any other behaviors that were out of the norm, i would make it a point to spend time with other 3 yr olds so you can see them side by side.  my son had several developmental delays, that were ALWAYS dismissed by doctors, but now age 11 and unable to read, lacks social skills of an 11 yr old, they are NO LONGER dismissed.  Good luck to you and please let me know if i can be of any help.  i would also recommend getting your child to do some "play therapy", the therapist may be able to uncover the underlying problem.  hopefully it is all the trauma, unfortunately they think my son's is schizophremia, EXTREMELY rare in children of that age, so don't worry about that yet...
oh, one more thing, make sure you JOURNAL EVERYTHING that is going on in relation to this and also have your daughter tell your husband or another close family friend what she is seeing; it will save you A LOT of headache down the road.. trust me.
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136956 tn?1425606272
i think that it is completley normal and age appropriate
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Avatar universal
Thank you so much for all your comments.
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Avatar universal
Night terrors.

Kids at three or so experience hormone fluxes similar to puberty and menopause.

Always get a second opinion.  If a doctor thinks night terrors are a seizure disorder, check with a different doctor.  We had a case where a group of doctors pronounced a baby dead after birth when it was just a "blue baby."  They had never heard of a "blue baby" and thought the kid was dead.

Doctors are stupid.  Nature is not.
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