Abstract and Keywords
Sleepwalking (somnambulism) and sleep terrors are known as disorders of arousal and constitute two of the most frequent and impressive NREM sleep parasomnias. This chapter discusses the clinical presentation, etiology, polysomnographic findings, diagnostic considerations, prevalence, and treatment options associated with these two parasomnias. Sleepwalking and sleep terrors share many characteristics. Most episodes arise from slow-wave sleep and are characterized by relative unresponsiveness to external stimuli, mental confusion, automatic behaviors, and variable retrograde amnesia. Episodes can be precipitated by factors that intensify or fragment sleep. Factors suggested as being operant include unusual sleep parameters, elevated psychopathology, deregulation of serotonergic systems, and a strong genetic component. A variety of treatments have been recommended, but well-designed controlled clinical trials are lacking.
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