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Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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As a child (8-10) I used to wake up randomly in the night with

Customer Question

As a child (8-10) I used to wake up randomly in the night with what I can only describe as a hallucination. I just had one again after not having one for over 14 years and I need to understand what it is. I'll describe the situation and how I feel:

I wake up, and every thought I have is time distorted. For example if I think about getting up to walk to the bathroom my mind tells me it would take years to get there, and it FEELS like years. My body feels enormous and if I think of a certain limb it only gets worse. It's not just the thought of it being enormous but it physically feels large (I wrote down in the middle of the night as I was feeling these effects that my fingers feel like the size of thighs, and my arms feel like the size of cars.) I'm completely disoriented but I can still think clearly in the sense that I can convince myself it isn't real, but what I feel afterwards is so REAL, so physically and mentally real that I begin to panic slightly.

This lasts between 40 minutes and an hour and afterwards completely fades. When I was younger I used to go for a shower in the middle of the night and it would almost always relieve what I could only describe is a temporary madness.

Any idea what this could be and what It could be caused by?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 1 year ago.

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about this problem.


 


From what you write, it sounds as though you are experiencing what is referred to as Sleep related Hallucinations:


 


 

Customer:

I figured that's what It was


 

Customer:

but what is causing it?


 

Bill :

Hallucinations are a parasomnia event that can target any sensory perception, be it visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory or other. Hallucinations are often confused with both illusions and dreams. Hallucinations occur in the state between waking and sleeping (the person is considered to be technically asleep during these hallucinations though), as opposed to dreams or lucid dreams, which occur while asleep. Illusions occur while awake, and are classified as a sensory misrepresentation of an external stimulus, while hallucinations occur in the absence of any external stimuli. Hallucinations most often occur in the stages before or after sleep, explaining their connection as a sleep related disorder. Hallucinations can occur at any time, though this article will only look at hallucinations as they are connected to sleep. Hallucinations are common, most notably sleep related hallucinations, with over 10% of the population experiencing one at some point.


The two forms of sleep related hallucinations are called hypnogogic (hypnogogia) and hypnopompic (hypnopompia) hallucinations. Hypnogogic hallucinations occur just before sleep, and may be accompanied by sleep paralysis, a state in which the subject is physically immobile, but fully conscious. Hypnogogia and sleep paralysis often cause fear, moreso than in sleep paralysis during hypnopompia which is often considered as part a dream by the subject, as well as feelings of difficulty breathing and muscle tightness. Hypnopompia occurs upon waking, and may also be accompanied by sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is much more common in hypnopompia than in hypnogogia. Sleep paralysis is often confused by the person experiencing it as part of a lucid dream, which accounts for the high number of recalled dreams with elements of being frozen in place, or being unable to move. Common hypnopompic experiences include the sensation of falling and the feeling of a presence in the room.

Bill :

There are a variety of reasons that this can occur

Bill :

Sleep deprivation


 

Bill :

history of migrane headaches


 

Bill :

Narcolepsy


 

Customer:

I've never suffered from any of these and in fact get more sleep than I should.


 

Customer:

I spoke to a doctor about this before and he said it may be caused by anal fissures... which even at the age of 8 sounded completely off and wrong.


 

Bill :

There probably about 50 types of sleep disorders and the best way to have this fully diagnosed is to have a Sleep study at a Sleep disorder Center.


 

Bill :

I have never heard of anal fissures being a causative factor either


 


 

Bill :

Where are you in Canada - I will check on sleep disorder specialists for you?


 

Customer:

Unfortunately given the amount of years that has passed since my last episode I think the chances of me suffering from such an issue again is probably less than 1%.


 

Customer:

Toronto


 

Bill :

This may be true but as long as you know what you are dealing with you will feel better. Hold a second. I will check resources for you to consider.

Bill :

Toronto Sleep Institute
586 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 507
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1P2


Office phone:(NNN) NNN-NNNNbr/>Office fax:(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Customer:

Oh, I was under the impression that the only way I'd get an answer would be if I was experiencing it while under a sleep study. Is that not true?


 

Bill :

Just in case you want to have an expert check this. Based on your clinical report it is pretty clear what that this is a sleep hallucination issue. The Experts at the above can evaluate this regardless of whether you have a complete sleep study or not.


 

Customer:

Ok well thank you for assistance. Although you couldn't give me a definitive answer atleast you pointed me in the right direction, and I am appreciative for that.


 

Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience: 35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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