would be a good title for a novel:
The sleep terror is the most dramatic disorder of arousal, frequently initiated by a loud, blood-curdling scream associated with extreme panic, followed by prominent motor activity such as hitting the wall, running around or out of the bedroom, even out of the house, resulting in bodily injury or property damage. A universal feature is inconsolability, and attempts at consolation are fruitless and may serve only to prolong or even intensify the confusional state. Complete amnesia for the activity is typical, but may be incomplete. The intense endogenous arousal and exogenous unarousability constitute a curious paradox. As with sleepwalking, sleep terrors are much more prevalent in adults than generally acknowledged (up to 3%) (ref. 54). Although usually benign, these behaviours may be violent (Fig. 3), resulting in considerable injury to the victim or others or damage to the environment, occasionally with forensic implications. Treatment options include reassurance, behavioural or pharmacological approaches.
It is rather endearing that "reassurance" is considered a treatment option. (Link via Boing Boing.)