Sleep terror disorder is also known as night terrors. Sleep terror is characterized by the following symptoms that a professional looks for when making a diagnosis for this condition:
Recurrent episodes of abrupt awakening from sleep, usually occurring during the first third of the major sleep episode and beginning with a panicky scream.
Intense fear and signs of autonomic arousal, such as tachycardia, rapid breathing, and sweating, during each episode.
Relative unresponsiveness to efforts of others to comfort the person during the episode.
No detailed dream is recalled and there is amnesia for the episode.
The episodes cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.
Criteria summarized from:
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Nov 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.