How common is sleepwalking in adults? Is there anything a person can do to
Some statistics suggest that 1 percent or less of the adult population may
sleep walk. As indicated before, many experts believe that adults who sleep walk
often have strong underlying psychological difficulties that may be responsible
in some way for the nighttime behavior. In some reports, fever with illness,
sleep deprivation, the excessive use of certain drugs may also make sleep
walking worse. In these cases, as stated before, in an attempts to prevent
further sleep walking episodes, the neuropsychologists in our insomnia clinic
will thoroughly evaluate for these possibilities and then institute appropriate
behavioral, cognitive or recommend medications that might be deemed appropriate
for what would otherwise the primary problems. When we have an otherwise normal
individual, child or adult, who for example would like to go on a mountain-side
campout, where sleep walking could be life threatening, we often recommend a
single night 's use of a medicine in the group of drugs called benzodiazepines.
These medications, simplistically put, insert a fast brain wave activity that in
some regards parallels a disruption of the normal deep delta brain wave pattern
from where sleep walking generally arises. As such, a marked reduction in the
capacity to sleep walk is generally appreciated. Nevertheless, there are many
hazards that are possible with the chronic use of these medications, although
there use can be considered in severe cases.
I be concerned if my child sleepwalks?
If there are no other problems
with the child's quality of life during the day,
such as inappropriate sleepiness or behavioral problems
such as hyperactivity, I wouldn't be overly concerned.
Nevertheless, as we suggested earlier, I would protect
the child's bedroom environment. I would avoid having
their bed at the top of the stairs. I would avoid
having sharp or potentially dangerous objects in
the child's room. And I personally, because we have
the resources for this available locally, have a
small alarm mechanism that would awaken me should
my child open the door late at night, so I could
gently direct them back to their bed and avoid the
potential dangers we discussed earlier.
My son sleepwalks,
he is almost 12 years old. Will this affect his future
when filling out applications for hire?
No. Normal kids sleep walk. Almost 20 - 40 percent in some people's studies,
of all normal kids have parasomnia at least once in their lifetimes, I have had
it twice, it did not affect my getting a job, but it is really not anyone's damn
business. Philosophically be very careful what you offer as part of your
personal information on any job application, as I do not mean to seem sarcastic,
but this is a normal phenomena, but if you mention it, the boss may have no idea
what it is and may conveniently find another reason not to hire you as you have
essentially become a labeled person.
What causes sleepwalking and at what age does this usually stop?
It is not unusual to see it very early, it often follows a period where the
child has confusional arousals and possibly night terrors and it may persist up
to age of 15 years in otherwise normal children. As stated previously, there is
a small percentage of adults who will continue to have sleepwalking.
My son is considered a genius but is very uptight. Could this cause the
My first thought is that anything is possible, but since this is a normal
phenomena, my answer would be no. As I stated before I would be hesitant to
label any child abnormal because of sleepwalking, as it is a normal phenomena.
Is sleep walking as problem suffered mostly in children or can it happen
in adults as well?
Rarely, although it may be under reported as anecdotally many of my adult
patients are embarrassed of their sleep walking and do not report it. We do
evaluate the problem differently than we do for children as was described
Are there violent tendencies when sleepwalking or when trying to wake
That has been reported. But these patients generally do not have directed
violence. It is important to realize that sleepwalkers are actually sleeping. If
you try to wake them up, it is potentially very threatening to this
confused/sleeping individual. The attempt to awake a sleepwalker has been the
general period of time where there have been reports of relative violence as the
confused patient may in some respects try to defend themselves or fend off the
individual who may appear in some regard to be attacking them. Usually it is
best to gently lead the patient back to their room without any active attempts
to awaken them. This is routine associated with no major problems.
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