sleep walking disorder

SOMNAMBOLISM

WHAT IS SLEEP WALKING AND WHAT ARE THE SYMTOMS

Sleepwalking, formally known as somnambulism, is a behavior disorder that originates during deep sleep and results in walking or performing other complex behaviors while asleep. It is much more common in children than adults and is more likely to occur if a person is sleep deprived. Because a sleepwalker typically remains in deep sleep throughout the episode, he or she may be difficult to awaken and will probably not remember the sleepwalking incident. The prevalence of sleepwalking in the general population is estimated to be between 1% to 15%.

SYMPTOMS:

  • sleep talking
  • little or no memory of the event
  • difficulty arousing the sleepwalker during an episode
  • inappropriate behavior such as urinating in closets (more common in children)
  • screaming (when sleepwalking occurs in conjunction with sleep terror)

SOME CAUSES OF SLEEP WALKING AND THE IMPACT IT HAS ON INDIVDUALS

Common triggers for sleepwalking include sleep deprivation, sedative agents(including alcohol), febrile illnesses, and certain medications.

This illness would affect a persons job because through night they would be going through these physical movements and behaviors and when it would come to the next day they would be drained. Sleep walking can also affect your social life. Others might not want to except who you are because of your illness.

TREATMENTS

There is no specific treatment for sleepwalking. In many cases simply improving sleep hygiene may eliminate the problem. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist about ways to prevent injury during the episodes and about the possibility of underlying illness. Also, be prepared to discuss with your doctor or pediatrician any factors, such as fatigue, medication, or stress, which may trigger symptoms.Treatment for sleepwalking in adults may include hypnosis. In fact, there are many cases in which sleepwalking patients have successfully treated their symptoms with hypnosis alone. Also, pharmacological therapies such as sedative-hypnotics or antidepressants have been helpful in reducing the incidence of sleepwalking in some people. Sleepwalking is common in children and is usually outgrown over time, especially as the amount of deep sleep decreases. If symptoms persist through adolescence, consult your doctor or psychiatrist.

QUESTIONS

  • what is another name for sleep walking ?
  • what is the prevalence of sleep walking in the general population ?

CITATION

  • Siclari,F., Tononi, G., Bassetti,C. Jul/Aug2012. Death by sleepwalker. Scientific American Mind.23, Pg 38-41.
  • 2014. Sleepwalking. National Sleep Foundation. Pg 1-2
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