Adult Night Terrors Since Childhood: A Case Report

Night terrors are characterized by the ICD-10-CM code F51.4 as “incomplete arousals from sleep associated with behavior suggesting extreme fright”, along with somnambulism, abrupt awakenings, and panicky screams. NTE occur during deep, slow wave, stage iii or iv sleep. In Crisp’s article, Sleepwalking/Night Terrors Syndrome in Adults, asserts that children are more affected by NTEs than adults, and men more than women. He also reports common effects of NTEs as exhaustion, injury to self and others, and alcohol dependence; and further, those patients have little to no recall of the episode. Two percent of adults, equating to millions of adults worldwide, suffer from NTEs.

Adult Night Terrors
Adult Night Terrors

Sleep disorders are usually reported secondary to other medical or psychiatric symptoms and are typically assigned a lesser priority of proper diagnosis and treatment. Nightmares occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep whereas NTEs occur during non-REM sleep, explaining the unremembered nature of NTE. Symptoms during the extended history of NTEs in this case report have had devastating effects on this patient’s health. Sources are cited throughout this case report to contrast adult night terror literature in relation to this presenting case.

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