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Most Common Forms Of Parasomnias
Parasomnias are common sleep disorders, especially in children. Most of the time, when there is no evidence of the existence of underlying medical conditions, treatment with drugs is not required.
Nightmares occur during REM sleep. These mostly affect children, but are not uncommon in adults. Some situations may act as a precipitating or exacerbating factor, for example use of certain drugs or alcohol, fever, or extreme fatigue.
Night terrors are sudden awakenings with sweating, rapid heart rate, and fear. They are more prevalent in children than adults, and may be accompanied by sleepwalking. They occur in NREM stages 3 and 4. Night terrors may be associated with psychological problems or alcoholism.
refers to specific behaviors or activities such as walking, sitting or
talking during sleep. Even though individuals may have their eyes
opened, they are still unconscious, and usually don't remember the
episode after they wake up.
There are many other forms of parasomnias, such as nocturnal enuresis, bruxism (teeth grinding), aggression during sleep, or head banging.
Individuals suffering from parasomnia often experience some of these symptoms:
Because of the complexity of these sleeping problems, the patient and physician have to work as a team, discussing every aspect of the condition to come up with the best resolution. In many cases simple solutions, like physical activity during the day and better sleep hygiene , may significantly improve the condition.
Treatments have to be individualized based on the type of ailment, severity and other personal factors, such as patient's age and coexistence of other medical conditions (pregnancy, renal failure). Hypnosis is used sometimes to treat night terrors.
If pharmacologic treatment is necessary, anticonvulsant or antianxiety drugs may be considered.
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