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Frequent Sleep Terrors In My Partner, Sometimes Violent

by Terryl
(Killeen, TX)

My partner experiences frequen sleep terrors. He does not fall under the normal parameters of this condition as he is 47 years old.

When he experiences these episodes, he frequently jerks and yells in his sleep. In his more severe episodes he has become violent. Last night he put his forearm around my neck and cut off my air so I couldn't scream to wake him up. I would up having to scratch at him and hit him to get him off me and now I have a swollen throat and can't swallow.

I know this is not normal and I have no idea what to do. I would like to get him help, but he has no insurance to see a doctor and I am not even sure he would if he could. These episodes scare him and me. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do.

Kevin: Dear Terryl, It's possible what you describe may be REM Behavior Disorder, rather than sleep terrors. That would fall more in line with your partner's age, and may better explain the violent behavior. Have a look at our page describing RBD and at least that may point you down a path to finding some treatment answers.

Any time there is violence and a risk of injury involved, you definitely should go to see a sleep specialist as soon as you can. And in the meantime, if finances delay you, at least sleep in separate rooms so that you can be safe. If you bring that up with your partner and explain to him it is not personal, I hope he does the right thing and is understanding. It also gives him another reason to get to that sleep specialist as soon as possible!


(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

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