Jump to content

Nightmares - Wake Up Screaming - Horrible

Recommended Posts

A new pdoc has changed my diagnosis from MDD to BP II, and I think he's right. I'm 49, have had 5 major depressions, and no overt hypomania, but the more I read up and think about my past, the changed diagnosis is starting to make sense.

At any rate, the new doc has started me on Lamictal; I'm at 100 mg and working my way up to 200 mg. I have been taking 450 mg of Wellbutrin for a few years. During the last week I've woken up twice screaming, feeling like I'm being attacked, and have a hard time waking up and getting out of the dream. I haven't had any recent traumas, and haven't really had nightmares since I was a small child.

Also lately I've been waking up at 2 or 3 am and not been able to get back to sleep. This is really odd as I have always been a sleepyhead. I'm not sure how much this has to do with the beginning of menopause or the med change.

The Lamictal is making me feel better, more energetic, better mood, etc. I saw the pdoc today and he is having me start taking the Lamictal in the a.m. instead of at bedtime, and also reduce my dose of Wellbutrin from 450 mg to 300 mg. He also prescribed Ambien to help me sleep as needed.

Has anyone else had med-induced nightmares, and if so, what measures did you take to stop them? I live alone out in the country so waking up scared in the night is not a good thing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jesus, that sounds terrifying. I don't know about med induced nightmares, but I've got the PTSD induced nightmares and one thing that helped me was learning to lucid dream. If you do a search, I think there are some topics already on that, and there's good stuff on google. Don't know how well it would work for you, and it took me a long time to learn it even partially, but it might be worth a go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I've tried lucid dreaming, but I've found that I can't always do it well depending on what meds I'm on at the moment. Still worth trying, though, as it really helps when it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hiya cat,

i have had extremely vivid dreams/nightmares when changing doses for the following meds: effexor, wellbutrin, remeron, cipralex and seroquel.

ohhh seroquel. wowsers.

but once i had stopped changing the dose the vividity (is that a word?) would drop off a lot.

so hopefully these dreams will subside once you've stabilised on the med.

as for waking up in the night. i have two treatments i follow. if i'm very agitated i listen to some of Grieg's lyric pieces. or if i just can't get to sleep i pull out my mom's old book from the 1950's on scientific russian. it's a very powerful tool because i've used it since undergrad (as she did) and i still have no idea what it says.

good luck,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some meds have increased the vividness of my dreams but never caused nightmares, and Lamictal did neither to me.

Sometimes a dream is just a dream, but they are a product of our minds, not the meds. A technique I've used beginning in teen years to handle bad dreams is to 'program' myself that when it starts, I am to remind myself (in my sleep) that 'it's just a dream, it's just a dream", to be calm and to think of something nice to dream about. I would take a minute or two before laying my head down to rehearse this and be ready.

It did help, and if nothing else, it does help reinforce when you wake, that you are in control and that the dreams don't.

The term I recall for this was "directed dreaming". Some people use it to dream about specific subjects.

Sweet dreams! ;)


Link to comment
Share on other sites


You mentioned the start of menopause and that might be it, too.

i hope there are more people with first-person experience that can discuss this.

when my mom was going thru "the change" she had a lot of physical & emotional issues.

as for me - ive had night terrors since i was 18. no med has stopped them.

i hope you are able to resolve this and get back to your regular sleep cycle.

good luck!!


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...