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Old 01-29-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
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Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

Please, if anyone has any experience with night-terrors, please let me know if this sounds normal to you. I'm freaking out

My daughter is 2.5, nurses to sleep, is laid in her bed (she knows this, it is not "snuck" on her), and when she wakes in the middle of the night, she comes through the house and gets in bed with us. This has been the normal routine for over a year, without any problems really.

Now she seems to having night-terrors or something. I don't mean she wakes up screaming or crying, and eventually calms down and goes back to sleep, remembering nothing the next morning. That would be NORMAL night terrors. What she does is something else entirely, and it is very scary. If it weren't so far-fetched, I'd almost say she seems possessed. She screams at the top of her lungs, completely out of her mind in a panic. She pushes against me, refusing any kind of comfort (I am normally the only one who CAN comfort her in the daytime; she is very attached.) Even when I'm not touching her, she is screaming, "NO MAMA NO!! I DON'T WANT TO!!" rolling in the floor, kicking her legs, kicking the wall, sometimes running back through the house full-speed. I cannot hold her, I cannot talk to her. Her eyes are wide open, turning on a light doesn't phase her, noises such as flushing the toilet don't phase her. She is COMPLETELY unreachable, sometimes for over an hour, and once last week for over THREE HOURS-- her all-time record. I use up all of my creative solutions, try everything I can think of, but I just CAN'T ignore her and "let it run it's course" because she is obviously in torment.

In the morning, I ask her if she remembers crying last night, and she always says yes, but she doesn't know why. When she is in the middle of an episode, she honestly looks and acts as if she is being attacked. The NO MAMA NO!! I DON'T WANT TO!! is really taking an emotional toll on me. My nerves are shot. We are all suffering from sleep deprivation, even her. I don't know what to do. I don't wanna take her to a doctor for sleeping medicine (which is the only thing I can think of that might have any effect) because we are mostly anti-doctor and anti-medication.

Has anyone ever had any experience with anything like this before?? Did they ever grow out of it? When? Or does this really sound alarming, like maybe I SHOULD take her to a doc?

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

hugs mama! What your describing sounds exactly like night terrors (extreme ones) versus nightmares. I (thankfully) don't have any experience with them (my DD just has plain old nightmares), so don't have much advice to give. However, my understanding is that they're considered a sleep disorder, much like sleep walking, sleep apnea, etc., and with them being as extreme and disruptive to everyone's sleep as you're describing, I'd see your pediatrician. I'm not big on medicating LOs either, and, maybe there are non-medication solutions. Really though, that kind of intensity and duration is unhealthy for everyone and, IMO, needs to be addressed even if medication is the only solution.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

I agree with the above. My 2 yr old sometimes has similar night terrors, though not quite to that extreme. No one can comfort her, she is completely out of her mind and screaming as if someone is stabbing her. Her episodes don't last quite as long and she doesn't tear through the house.

One thing my sister suggested, that she did with her son when he went through a similar experience for a short time around the same age, was to take a wet wash cloth and wipe it on his face. The effect was that it woke him up, kinda shocked him out of it. Because despite appearing wide awake, eyes open etc, they really are still asleep. I don't know though if that would be advisable with the as extreme as she gets. Three hours is extreme.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

oh gosh mama that sounds awful! I would bring her to your doc and get a referral to a sleep clinic or something. It sounds like she is experiencing extreme night terrors i can only imagine how hard that must be on both of you, I hope you are able to find some way to help her. Im sorry i dont have any real suggestions for you. ((hugs))
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

My 21 mo has night terrors and has for at least 6 months. It's exactly like you describe, although not as extreme as running through the house. He screams bloody murder and won't let anyone comfort him, pushing us away, screaming NO etc. Two things seem to be helping. First, I try to remember to go in and rouse him a bit just before he'd often wake up with a terror. They usually happen between 10 & 11, so I go in around 9:30 and just turn him over or jiggle him a bit. Not enough to wake him fully, but enough that he resets his sleep cycle some.

If I forget, or if it doesn't work and he does have a night terror I've been just leaving him in his crib. I stay beside him and pat him if he'll let me and say things like Mama's here, it's okay. It seemed that if I picked him up and tried to do any physical comforting it just made the terror last longer. Then, when he wakes up (it's usually pretty clear when he's actually conscious), I do pick him up and comfort him. The past few have been more like 15-20 minutes of screaming instead of closer to an hour.

This post has some good suggestions: http://www.askmoxie.org/2006/06/qa_night_terror.html
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

It does sound like fairly normal "extreme" night terrors in our house. I have 6 kids (5 old enough to do it). Of those 5 old enough, 2 did it often and 2 do it some and one has never done it. The 2 who are older and did it often have both grown out of it, though the oldest and most extreme of them talks in his sleep now, at 7. The 5 year who did it doesn't anymore and doesn't talk in his sleep. My 2.5 year old twins both do it every once in a while, one more than the other, but not as much as my older two.

I think she will grow out of it. The research that I did said that night terrors seem like the child is very scared and in terror, but in actuality, they are not. I don't know how "they" know, but that is what I read in several places.

If you are concerned, mention it to the ped. But, while it is alarming, I wouldn't worry.

Oh, I used to try to wake mine, but rarely could. I would turn the light on too and their eyes are freaky, freaky, freaky. The cold cloth to try to wake them up is a good thought. I think we may have done that too.

to you. It's hard to handle. I hope she grows out of it soon.

Oh, one other thought, the more tired my children are, the more likely they are to have an episode. So, make sure she is getting enough sleep overall is important.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:01 PM   #7
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraSue42 View Post
My 21 mo has night terrors and has for at least 6 months. It's exactly like you describe, although not as extreme as running through the house. He screams bloody murder and won't let anyone comfort him, pushing us away, screaming NO etc. Two things seem to be helping. First, I try to remember to go in and rouse him a bit just before he'd often wake up with a terror. They usually happen between 10 & 11, so I go in around 9:30 and just turn him over or jiggle him a bit. Not enough to wake him fully, but enough that he resets his sleep cycle some.

If I forget, or if it doesn't work and he does have a night terror I've been just leaving him in his crib. I stay beside him and pat him if he'll let me and say things like Mama's here, it's okay. It seemed that if I picked him up and tried to do any physical comforting it just made the terror last longer. Then, when he wakes up (it's usually pretty clear when he's actually conscious), I do pick him up and comfort him. The past few have been more like 15-20 minutes of screaming instead of closer to an hour.

This post has some good suggestions: http://www.askmoxie.org/2006/06/qa_night_terror.html
I agree with this...DD occasionally has night terrors, though less extreme than your DD; the brief rousing helped immensely, once we identified her key terror times.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

Have you changed anything in her diet lately? I ask because my son had night terrors, and it was triggered by a dairy sensitivity. We knew he had the sensitivity, but thought he'd outgrown it. It actually took us a few months to figure out the connection. Once we cut the dairy out again, he was fine.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:11 PM   #9
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

I pulled out my Ferber book. From what you describe it's either night terrors or agitated sleep walking. You have to let it run it's course with as little intervention as possible. Don't let her hurt herself, obviously. But don't try to wake her up otherwise stimulate her as it will only prolong the episode.

Ferber recommends against medication at such a young age, but isn't opposed to it for school aged or adolescents.

If you're not willing to go to a doctor, that's all you can do.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:19 PM   #10
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Re: Serious problem with DD. Need help :(

We went through almost the exact same thing about 6-8 months ago with dd1, but on and off since she was about 18 months. I finally figured out that it happened when she was just really tired and something (even seemingly insignificant to me) was different in our routine. At that time she was also going through the adjustment of a new sibling and regressed in potty training. I don't really know what advice to give, but . DD is fine with sleeping for the most part. I really hope you figure something out soon. I know how scary and frustrating it can be.
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