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Re: night terrors

Posted by Elizabeth on February 17, 1999, at 0:23:40

In reply to Re: night terrors, posted by Terry on February 14, 1999, at 22:02:26

Terry et al.,

Just an off-the-wall observation, but all those meds are doing heaven knows what to your sleep cycle. I could hazard a guess as to what any one of them would do if taken alone, but....

Well, for example, clonidine often helps with nightmares. Some people say Depakote does too. Ritalin could suppress REM sleep, but it also could cause REM rebound if you are taking it earlier in the day (as most people do). And so on....

I would not recommend adding melatonin. It's a drug just like birth control pills, thyroid supplements, and insulin are drugs, and furthermore it seems to cause vivid dreaming not infrequently (when I asked around about ways I could increase my dreaming, a *lot* of people suggested melatonin). I'd also stay from the antihistamines (Benadryl etc.), as it's definitely possible they would do nasty things to your sleep even while prolonging it. And Carol: some of the antihypertensives (notably, beta blockers) have been known to cause or exacerbate nightmares.

I'd also speculate that your attention problems might be due to anxiety more than anything else. (Just because I think that's what it is for me (I had a failed trial of stimulants too, BTW).) Do you have the experience of "blanking out?" It could also be "fuzziness" from Depakote, I hear about that a lot. (What are your Depakote levels like BTW? Do you have them rechecked after adding something new? Med B can muck with the levels of Med A - pretty common actually.)

There is such a thing as a nocturnal panic attack; the secret to avoiding them is never to sleep. (Just kidding; antipanic medication should prevent nocturnal panic attacks as well as ones that happen when you're awake.)

I agree with Sean in general, although there is one thing he says that I question:
>Also, as for CG Jung, he makes some great points, but jeez, talking about archetypes and symbols seems pretty pointless when you're suicidal, manic, or have not slept in weeks.

Jung was the one who said, "Let the dreamer awake and you will see psychosis," n'est-ce pas? I thought that was very deep. (The rest of it appears to be bunk, in particular *any* sort of assertion that the secrets of the unconscious can be extracted from dream content. People like to come up with rationalizations for what their dreams "mean," but mostly it's either just that - rationalizing - or it's just restating the obvious, the manifest content of the dream (and even then it's still rationalizing).)

Well anyway, good luck, and don't overdo it with those pop tarts. :-) BTW, something that might help you figure out what's going on in there while you're asleep: if you're near an academic hospital you could go to their sleep lab and find out if any of the researchers could use you as an experimental subject. (Free polysomnograph, don't have to try to get the insurance to pay for it, and the researcher gets an interesting case out of it. If not, though, and if the problem persists after you've stopped the Ritalin, I personally think that you ought to consider a sleep study anyway if you can.)


p.s. I don't think I've ever had the dream about going to school and finding out it was the day of exams, or showing up somewhere naked. Just for the record. :-) I did have one about Nazis (or rather, random guys who happened to be wearing Nazi uniforms) the night after I saw _Schindler's List_ the second time, though.




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