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Is This Sleep Terrors or Anxiety Attacks?

by Donna
(Los Angeles)

My son just turned 12 years old. Approximately 3 months ago he started having terrible episodes at night after having already been asleep for a little while (between 40 minutes-1 1/2 hours).


He wakes up in complete fear with his heartbeat racing, sweating, crying, walking aimlessly around the room (almost trying to flee) and looking at me saying things like, "Oh God Mommy it won't stop" or "I can't make it stop, I want to be a little baby", etc.

Eventually after like 5-10 minutes of trying to softly talk to him to reassure him that he's okay and getting him to try and listen to my deep breathing he seems to calm down a little. He will lay back in bed but wants me to either rub his tummy (he sometimes gets an upset tummy during it) or he wants me to hold him tight.

This is the most upsetting thing that I have ever seen and it breaks my heart to see him go through this. He has had 6 episodes so far. One even being on a 5 hour long red eye flight that we took to the East coast from CA. It was HORRIBLE to watch this happen on the plane while I tried to calm him. He wanted to leave his seat but of course we couldn't.

Can you please let me know if this sounds like Sleep Terrors or Anxiety Attacks? Just a side note, I recently won full custody of my son through an ugly court battle so that caused a lot of stress on both of us as his father caused a lot of uproar and was even diagnosed with Boarderline Personality Disorder during the process. My son also has had stress of entering middle school this year and some kids picking on him.

PLEASE HELP!

Comments for Is This Sleep Terrors or Anxiety Attacks?

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Mar 01, 2016
When I was 11 NEW
by: Anonymous

I first started experiencing sleep paralysis when I was 11. However, my eyes were open for the first 2 times but after that, I realized it was better to just keep my eyes closed

Apr 09, 2016
My 10 year old son doing the same NEW
by: Cory

Just wondering if you have found out what with is wrong with your son? my son has been doing the exact same thing almost to a tee... we are starting to get freaked out now, its happened a bunch of times now

Sep 10, 2016
Please help NEW
by: Anonymous

Has anyone determine what this is - this is exactly
The same thing my daughter experiences - it's almost nightly at this point. She has been having to sleep in our room as she has attempted to leave the house in the middle of the night - thank goodness we woke up when this was happening. Tonight it has happened again however she said something very disturbing "I want to kill my mom", when I speak to her she responds but does not recall vety mug if anything the next morning. I have tried melatonin but have had no success. I am feeling very frightened that something is seriously wrong with her any information would be helpful. She is nine years old and has a history of difficulty with falling asleep.

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