Mental Health

Night terror

Night terror, also known as sleep terror, is a sleep disorder, causing feelings of terror or dread, and typically occurs during the first hours of stage 3–4 non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.


Diagnostic criteria

 DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria:

  • Recurrent periods where the individual abruptly wakes from sleeping with a scream
  • Individual experiences intense fear and symptoms of autonomic arousals, such as increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and increased perspiration
  • Individual cannot be soothed or comforted during the episode
  • Individual is unable to remember details of the dream or details of the episode
  • Occurrence of the sleep terror episode causes clinically significant distress or impairment in the individual’s functioning
  • Disturbance is not due to the effects of a substance or general medical condition


  • Psychotherapy or counseling
  • Severe cases:
    • Benzodiazepines (such as diazepam) or tricyclic antidepressants

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: