Sleepwalking - What is the Cause?

Patient

Q: I am a 15 year old female, all my life i have had issues with sleep walking and talking. to the point where we have to lock me in my room at night and not live anywhere with stairs. i also get a usual of 8 to 9 hours of sleep but i am always falling asleep anywhere and everywhere, like when i site down on the couch at like 1 or 2 in the afternoon ill fall asleep. i have never taken any sleeping pills and i would rather not.

Doctor

A:   Sleepwalking or somnambulism is characterized by simple, stereotypic movements that disturb sleep. Patients may or may not be aware of the movements. Symptoms of sleep disturbance (eg, daytime sleepiness, fatigue) are seen with sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking is a benign condition and there are several things that can be done to minimize the frequency of sleep walks.
i) Get adequate sleep and maintain a regular sleep timing.
ii) Avoid noise, light or television when going to sleep.
iii) Keep the room safe, lock windows and doors, remove obstacles and sharp objects from the room.
iv) Educate family members : Attempts to confront or wake up patients during the events frequently lengthens the parasomnia episode and may induce resistance or violence from the patient.
v) Medical treatment : Benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to be useful. Clonazepam in low doses before bedtime and continued for 3-6 weeks is usually effective. Medication often can be discontinued after 3-5 weeks without recurrence of symptoms.
v) Relaxation techniques, mental imagery, with the help of an experienced behavioral therapist or hypnotist.

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