Treatment for sleep terrors isn't usually necessary. If your child has a sleep terror, simply wait it out. You might gently restrain your child and try to get him or her back into bed. Speak softly and calmly. Shaking your child or shouting may make things worse.
If the sleep terrors are associated with an underlying medical or mental health condition or another sleep disorder, treatment is aimed at the underlying problem. If stress or anxiety seems to be contributing to the sleep terrors, your doctor may suggest meeting with a therapist or counselor. Cognitive behavior therapy, hypnosis, biofeedback and relaxation therapy may help.
Medication is rarely used to treat sleep terrors, particularly for children. If necessary, however, use of benzodiazepines or some antidepressants may help reduce sleep terrors.
Aug. 12, 2011
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- National sleep disorders research plan. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/res_plan/section5/section5a.html. Accessed June 7, 2011.
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