Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is a disorder characterized by walking or other activities while seemingly still asleep.

The sleepwalking activity may include simply sitting up and appearing awake while actually asleep, getting up and walking around, or complex activities such as moving furnitures, hitting some objects, driving etc.

Causes of Sleepwalking

  • The biggest cause of Sleepwalking is lack of sleep. When a person does not get proper sleep, he loses his consciousness and this causes sleepwalking.
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Stress, anxiety or worry
  • Various medications
  • Excess intake of alcohol or drugs
  • Children with asthma or sleep apnea are more prone to sleepwalking than others because their conditions are not always conducive to a good nights sleep and rest.
  • Medical conditions such as partial complex seizures can cause sleepwalking.
  • In the elderly, sleepwalking may be a symptom of an organic brain syndrome or REM behavior disorders.

Symptoms of Sleep Walking

Many can’t track out and many are unsure about the symptoms of sleepwalking. The reason behind this is that sleep walkers often appear to be awake.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Eyes open during sleep
  • Blank facial expression
  • Sleep walkers may sit up and appear awake during sleep
  • Walking during sleep
  • Talking or mumbling and disorientation or confusion if awakened suddenly
  • Talking during sleep

What is the treatment for sleepwalking?

  • Usually, no testing and medication is needed for sleepwalking. In severe conditions, it is especially associated with other disorders.
  • If sleepwalking is frequent or persistent, examination to rule out other disorders such as partial complex seizures may be appropriate.
  • It may also be appropriate to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine causes such as excessive anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Safety measures should be taken in case of persistency to prevent injuries. This may include modifying the environment by moving objects such as electrical cords or furniture to reduce tripping and falling. Stairways may need to be blocked off with a gate.
  • In some cases, short-acting tranquilizers have been helpful in reducing the incidence of sleepwalking.
  • Sleepwalking can be treated with hypnosis treatments,
  • Since sleepwalking is the end result of not getting enough or proper sleep or rest, one can solve all the problems associated with sleep disturbance.

What is the prognosis of sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking may or may not reduce with age. It may start at any age. It may happen regularly or irregularly. It may stay for a very short period of time or may extend further. It usually does not indicate a serious disorder. In severe causes it indicates a symptom of other disorders.

What are the complications of sleepwalking?

Severe complications with sleepwalking may include:

  • Serious injuries can occur during sleep activities
  • Sleepwalkers may injure themselves or the people around them.
  • Automobile accidents