Night Sweats, Tormented & Cannot Remember Things

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am not sure what the problem is but here are my symptoms since I have been 13 years old. I wake up most nights covered in sweat only after maybe an hour or two of falling asleep and I cannot go back to sleep, there are times that I have lost hours out of the day and cannot remember what I did. Most of the time when I am driving somewhere I end up somewhere else and I have no idea how I was able to drive there. When I do sleep I have nightmares of being chased by a person. Upon waking I often see this person in my doorway (their shadow). I remember when I was young very bad things were done to me but I cannot remember what exactly. The person whom I often dream about tells me not to worry about it when I ask her. I dream about her a lot and the person who chases me. Sometimes I wonder if they are the same person. I often hear them throughout the day. Most of the time they whisper, sometimes I can hear the girl call my name snapping me out of whatever trance I was in. I have about two migraines a month and I sedate myself with large doses of Alieve to rid myself of them. I also get smaller sharper headaches during the day but I don’t remember when those go away. There is more but I will not bore you with all of it. I went to the doctor and a CT scan showed no tumors or anything wrong with my brain. I am going mad because since 13 I have only gotten maybe 10 hours of sleep a week. Sometimes I stay awake so long that my body just falls and passes out. I woke up on the gutter a few weeks ago. I know something is wrong and is getting worse and i am confused.

A. I have several recommendations all of which involve receiving both physical and psychiatric evaluations. You have been to one doctor who recommended a CT scan. I would suggest getting a second opinion. You should see a neurologist who can further investigate a possible neurological problem.

I would also recommend having a sleep study. A sleep study is a series of tests that assess what happens to your body and mind when your asleep. Here’s a link to information regarding sleep study clinical trials and other helpful sleep study resources.

It would also be advantageous for you to meet with a psychiatrist and a therapist. A psychiatrist may be able to prescribe medication to improve your sleep. Your lack of sleep exacerbates and complicates the problem.

A therapist could teach you stress relief and other coping skills. In addition, he or she can investigate your sleep patterns and analyze the content of your nightmares. A therapist could also act as a sleep coach. This may involve making changes to how you sleep. For instance, recommendations may include changing the arrangement of your bedroom, changing the time you go to sleep, engaging in a relaxing activity before bedtime, meditating, and so forth.

You currently self-medicate with large doses of over-the-counter medication but this can be dangerous. It is important that your medication regimen for migraines be monitored by a physician. The main concern is that the medication may harm you.

I hope these ideas are helpful. I would recommend exploring all of them. Chronic fatigue has been linked to psychological and physical health problems. It is difficult to function effectively when you’re not well rested and it is likely taking a major toll on your health and well-being. It is important that this problem be investigated thoroughly and as soon as possible.

I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 May 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Night Sweats, Tormented & Cannot Remember Things. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/05/12/night-sweats-tormented-cannot-remember-things/