Pavor nocturnus; Sleep terror disorder
In many cases, a child who has a night terror only needs comfort and reassurance. Psychotherapy or counseling may be appropriate in some cases. Benzodiazepine medications (such as diazepam) used at bedtime will often reduce night terrors; however, medication is rarely recommended to treat this disorder.
Most children outgrow night terrors in a short period of time. They don't usually remember the event. Stress reduction and/or psychotherapy may be helpful for night terror in adults.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
- The night terrors are persistent or frequent
- They occur often enough to regularly disrupt sleep
- Other symptoms occur with the night terror
- The night terror causes, or almost causes, injuries
Review Date: 06/02/2009
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.