Seems some of you are familiar with hypnopompic hallucinations (a hallucination that you see when waking up - could be in the middle of the night. Oftentimes a figure from your dream or bugs/spiders, etc appears in your room. It can be accompanied by sleep paralysis, but I don't personally experience that. Usually doesn't last too long and as you slowly wake up, you realize it was a hallucination).
I have been having them since I was 16 years old (I am now 29). I hadn't had them in a long time but I've been getting them every night for the past three weeks. They are mildly frightening - sometimes I run from the room. My husband is used to them and does his best to help out but last night I picked up our blanket and threw it on the cat, thinking it was a large spider.
It's increased frequency can be explained by our new environment (we moved three weeks ago) and it's more annoying then anything else because I'm a light sleeper to begin with and I hate to lose sleep because of it.
Any suggestions on how to control it? Sleep medication?
I have experienced this but never knew it had a name! Can't help with what would stop it. Mine always seemed to pass as a got less stressed.
I would guess that Ambein might just add to the problem--that is JUST a guess. I had trouble sleep walking with Ambein myself and combining the two troubles sounds like real trouble!!! Perhaps you should see you doctor about the problem?
Last edited by septemberwoman; 03-23-2005 at 01:40 AM.
I've been meaning to get on boards like this and tell my experience with this. I had had similar but very mild symptoms throughout childhood, and then my freshman year in college I really started to get affected by sleep paralysis and hallucinations. I finally went to the doctor and was prescribed nortriptylene (sp?). I took it every night with dinner and it worked quite well (especially when I stuck to a regular sleep schedule). I didn't like being dependent on a pill and tried to get off it all the time, but the symptoms always came back. Then, about 4 years after the initial diagnosis, I went to a new doctor who gave me blood work and diagnosed me as hypothryoid, and prescribed me thyroxin. I weened myself off the nortriptylene the same time I started taking the thyroxin. The symptoms completely disappeared and I've been off the nortriptylene for 2 years. I only traded one pill for another, but the thyroxin is more like a vitamin, its smaller, I take it daily but if I miss a dose it doesn't matter, and its easier on my stomach.
I'm sure everyone that suffers from sleep paralysis/hallucinations, isn't hypothryoidal, but I definitely recommend getting it tested if you haven't had blood work in some time.
I've also had sleep studies, but they all were a complete waste of time. The doctors always wanted to diagnose me with narcolepsy, but it just isn't the case. One of the sleep docs gave me a diagnosis without ever even talking to me. The only things he knew about me were from a quick little questionnaire the nurse gave me.
Seemed to me the sleep specialists and their tests are all geared more towards apnea and narcolepsy than on sleep paralysis. Personally, I think sleep paralysis is fascinating, even though it was terrible when I had it. I wish there were more docs studying the problem.
I get this all the time accompanied with sleep paralysis, which is far scarier. For the few seconds it lasts, I still get scared even though I consciously know exactly what is happening. I usually try screaming but can't get a sound out. Once it is over, I just laugh at myself for being scared and go back to sleep.
I was recently referred to a neurologist because of my sleep paralysis... but I have yet to make an appointment because the referral sheet says "possible narcolepsy"... and I'm very sure that I'm not narcoleptic... your post has made me a little more certain of myself and not going.. anyhow, I am also completely fascinated by sleep paralysis. The experience, though awful, is very intriguing..
Sounds like you’re going down the same road I did. Is the intention that the neurologist will give you a sleep study? I don’t want to go so far as to say “don’t go see the neurologist”, but if the intention is that he will give you a sleep study, then I don’t think it will be of much value. If you’re suffering from the same symptoms that have been listed in this thread then its really pretty unambiguous. You suffer from sleep paralysis with hypnopompic and hypnogogic hallucinations. I had two different sleep specialists that both seemed compelled to inject narcolepsy into the discussion.
Do you have daytime drowsiness? I did, which I imagine is what raised a flag for the docs. But the first things to look at are much simpler than a narcolepsy diagnosis. When I fixed my sleep habits, eating habits/nutrition, and got back into a regular workout/cardio routine, I was good to go with respect to energy level.
Ask your primary care doc about nortriptyline. My sleep specialists were lousy, but my general practitioner was very good, was somewhat familiar with SP and nortriptyline was the first thing he thought of trying. I've never seen it mentioned on any of these boards before, but the effect on me was so immediate and effective that I find it hard to believe it wouldn't work in a lot more cases. I went from almost nightly cases to maybe one every 10 days or so. Nortriptyline is an anti-depressant, which bothered me at first because I have no depression, and very little stress even when I was in college, but my doc said people that take it for those reasons take it in a much larger dose than what I was prescribed. I had my doctor explicitly note in my file that the prescription was not for depression or stress, so when others look through my medical history it is clearly stated.
Doctors are there to help you, and if your doctor isn't helping you then you need to find someone else. If he still wants to send you off to specialists, (and if its covered by your insurance) thats fine, but he needs to try and find some relief for your symptoms in the meantime.
I think I learned a lot about these issues through my experiences, and I'd be glad to answer any other questions you or anyone else have. I have never met anyone else that has had SP, so its interesting to read online about other peoples experiences. Feel free to email me offline if you'd prefer.
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P.S.- Another interesting facet of SP... It was mentioned the other day on a History Channel program about UFO's. A skeptic was saying that SP and the corresponding hallucinations probably account for a lot of the supposed "abductions". I wholeheartedly agree with that. I saw/heard/ and even felt some really wild things during some of my bouts with SP. One of the "abductees" on the program even admitted to suffering from SP, but claims its unrelated.
Last edited by moderator2; 04-06-2005 at 06:33 PM.
Reason: Please read and follow the posting rules - no emails
I have had Hypnopompic Hallucinations for most of my life. It started in my late teens as waking up in the middle of the night, or right after I fall asleep and I would see balloons floating around the room. It didn't scare me because it was balloons. As I got older the hallucinations got much worse, to spiders crawling on the walls, the bed being covered in ants, or faces coming out of the wall. I am now 30, and the hallucinations now talk. I don't see much anymore, except the occassional rat crawling across the ceiling, but I had gotten used to seeing things. Hearing things is a new terror for me. It happens very often. I wake up having a conversation or hearing a conversation and then the fears that I'm not alone or worse...crazy start to come over me and my heart pounds. I pray outloud so that if I'm not alone they will know that I mean business and then I finally fall asleep. It usually only happens once a night. Once I am finally asleep, then the real fun begins: sleep walking or talking. My husband thinks it's hillarious for me to be talking to him in total nonsense and then wake up half-way through the conversation and realize what's going on.
If I could take a magic pill that would make me "normal" then I would certainly do it, providing it doesn't hurt other parts of my body.
I don't think this is narcoleptic associated. I am not sleepy during the day at all, unless my insomnia keeps me up all night which it sometimes does. My mother has the Hypnopompic hallucinations too. I pray that my daughter doesn't get it too. I don't want her to live in fear of sleep.
Help me?? If anyone has found relief from a drug, please let me know!
Sleepless in Atlanta,
Last edited by Administrator; 08-10-2005 at 12:02 PM.
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Wow, I've never heard of anybody having both hypnopompic hallucinations, and sleepwalking problems. I always considered them opposite ends of the same spectrum.
So have you been to a doctor yet about these problems? What did he recommend? I would definitely recommend giving Nortriptyline a try. It really did help me a lot. My episodes went from being a nightly occurence to maybe once every couple weeks, usually if I missed a dose or if I had some odd sleep patterns for a couple days. Off the top of my head, I think I started at 25, then to 50 and finally to 100mg where I stayed for several years.
I don't know anything about the hereditary issue. No one in my family has had this.
I know these things can be terrifying, so good luck with finding a solution. Stay on top of it and push your doctor to find something that works. It will increase your quality of life quite a bit if you can start sleeping normal again. You mentioned praying - I found it quite effective at dealing with some of the more extreme hallucinations. I'm the type of guy who claims not to be afraid of anything, but no horror author out there can find things scarier than what your own brain can come up with. I slept with a bible right next to me and I prayed and prayed during some of my hallucinations to try and keep myself calm.
I haven't seen a doctor about it yet. To be honest, I thought there was something wrong with me. It never occurred to me that this might be a problem that others share. Most people just look at me like I'm crazy. My sister even mentioned that I might be schizophrenic since I hear voices, which only scared me more since I already thought I was crazy. Finding so much information on it really gives me hope. I know I'm not schizophrenic, no doubt about it. I'm a pretty intelligent person too, and I never thought to look it up, since I really didn't even know what it was or what to call it.
I will definitely see a doctor now. And I am writing down the name of the medicine you mentioned. I read your posts about it but thought it was more for the paralysis part of the sleep disorders. I have the opposite problem. I even create an obstacle course for myself sometimes so I don't leave the room. The natural fear of sleepwalking AND the hallucinations is that I might hurt my daughter. Maybe this medicine will take care of BOTH problems!!
I am so excited about maybe getting some normalcy to my nights!! Thank you!!
I just stumbled on this site while I was doing research about my new diagnosis. When I was younger, I had night terrors, but those dissapeared, I believe, by the age of 5. Since then, however, and increasing in frequency, I've had these hallucinations in the middle of the night. I wake up suddenly and see anything from my cat floating up and away from me to a man or woman in my doorway watching me. I've seen a woman coming out of my bed to grab me, a cupid-like monster shooting arrows at me, etc.
I've just rolled with the punches until this summer, when we went on vacation to the Grand Tetons. My 'waking dreams', as I've named them, came at such a frequency and in such gruesome forms that I had a real panic attack/breakdown, and my family and I decided that we needed to seek some kind of information/help on the issue.
I've always looked at it as just a unique side of myself, and even something that could connect to premonition/intuition, but now I'm finally finding others who share this same experience.
I just went to a neurologist, and was diagnosed with REM Behavior Disorder. As I researched this, I've found that these symptoms only partially match with my own. I hope that this is simply because I'm experiencing a form of the disorder, perhaps less severe than the violent disorder that I've seen described in online journals. A man actually killed his wife because of this disorder a few years ago near my home, while having a violent episode.
I've never experienced violence, only fear and hallucinations, as well as some conversations that I half remember. But the images I do not forget. In any case, I'll stop rambling on and get to the point: Whether or not I do have REM Behavior Disorder, there is medication; the drug I'm taking is called clonazepam, which is also a medication for anxiety and seizures, but seems to magically work for this disorder.
If anyone else has any ideas on what I may be experiencing outside of hypnopompic hallucinations, please let me know. I just started the medication 2 days ago, at 1 mg in the evening, and I'm hoping that it will help to not only stop the waking dreams but also finally give me energy in the days (there are a lot of nights in which I'm wandering around and talking, seeing things and desperately trying to sleep half of the time.) I'll keep you posted on the effectiveness of this drug.
Thanks for reading, and please respond. I'm 17,and I really need to come to some understanding with what exactly these hallucinations are before college. It sounds like I'm not alone, which is comforting; there must be some rational explanation for these waking dreams, though I'm thankful that for me, I can often realize that they are only hallucinations after about 3 seconds (though that doesn't mean they dissapear.)
Thanks to all who reply.
Last edited by ckonscider; 08-28-2005 at 10:09 PM.
By the way, in the research I've been doing, I stumbled onto a very helpful site that seems to deal specifically with a lot of what I've read in this forum. If you look at the section on Parasomnias, you can see my supposed disorder (REM Behavior Disorder), as well as others that may be helpful to you. Here's the site; I would take advantage of it.
Well, welcome to the club my friend. First of all....you're not crazy, okay? That's the first "whew" about this. It sounds like you have a really good grasp of things, even better than some of us. I personally haven't seen a doctor yet. I just pray every night. I haven't had an episode in at least a week, thank goodness. I think it's because I have been taking Benedryl to help me get to sleep, and therefore I fall asleep faster and heavier than when I don't take it, and then skip the episode mode. I suffer from insomnia too. I think that's an interesting link. Can't sleep, and when I finally do, I walk, and talk, see and hear things to keep me awake.
It sounds like you're heading in the right direction. Don't worry about being violent in your sleep. I think anxiety makes it worse.
Hey, thanks. It is definately a relief to find people out there who are experiencing the same things that I am--I can relate exactly to what you said about being afraid to go to sleep, walking and talking without realizing that you seem insane...in any case, my good news is that this medication seems to be doing its job. From my research, it looks like it has been prescribed basically for this genre of sleep disorder. I would give it a shot, if you can--I've slept better in the last week than I've slept in years. I've slept through every night without hallucinating or talking, and woken up feeling (after the initial grogginess) extremely rested. And I can still dream!!! It seems that my dream life (normal, that is) has remained basically unaffected.
You're right, I'm not insane, and this isn't something to be ashamed about. I'm just so thrilled to feel rested, and to know that I don't need to be afraid to sleep.
Ive woken up a few times seeing someone stood near me, the other night i saw someone jumping out of my wall :S i dont have it that often the last time was when i was on holiday,there were lizards around and i woke up seeing them on the floor but i don't know if i was dreaming as how i was sleeping i couldn't even see the floor and ive seen spiders crawling along my bed too.
Hmmm, when I was younger, like 12 and under, I would only have the hallucinations when I was out of my comfort zone (i.e. on holiday, sleeping in a different bed in a different place). Don't be surprised or afraid if you start to have them more often as you get older. I do think anxiety can bring them on too.