Night terrors, sleepwalking, and confusional arousals in the general population: their frequency and relationship to other sleep and mental disorders Ohayon M Guilleminault C Priest R J Clin Psychiatry 1999 60 268 276 10221293

Centre de Recherche Philippe Pinel de Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.5). 05/1999; 60(4):268-76; quiz 277.
Source: PubMed


Arousal parasomnias (night terrors, sleepwalking, and confusional arousals) have seldom been investigated in the adult general population. Clinical studies of parasomnias, however, show that these disorders may be indicators of underlying mental disorders and may have serious consequences.
A representative sample of the United Kingdom population (N = 4972) was interviewed by telephone with the Sleep-EVAL system.
Night terrors were reported by 2.2% (95% CI = 1.8% to 2.6%) of the sample, sleepwalking by 2.0% (1.6% to 2.4%), and confusional arousals by 4.2% (3.6% to 4.8%). The rate of these 3 parasomnias decreased significantly with age, but no gender difference was observed. Multivariate models identified the following independent factors as associated with confusional arousals (odds ratio [OR]): age of 15-24 years (OR = 4.1), shift work (OR = 2.1), hypnagogic hallucinations (OR = 3.3), deep sleep (OR = 1.6), daytime sleepiness (OR = 1.9), sleep talking (OR = 1.7), daily smoking (OR = 1.7), adjustment disorder (OR = 3.1), and bipolar disorder (OR = 13.0). Factors associated with night terrors were subjective sense of choking or blocked breathing at night (OR = 5.1), obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OR = 4.1), alcohol consumption at bedtime (OR = 3.9), violent or injury-causing behaviors during sleep (OR = 3.2), hypnagogic hallucinations (OR = 2.2), and nightmares at least 1 night per month (OR = 4.0). Factors associated with sleepwalking were age of 15-24 years (OR = 5.2), subjective sense of choking or blocked breathing at night (OR = 5.1), sleep talking (OR = 5.0), and a road accident in the past year (OR = 3.9) after controlling for possible effects of sleep deprivation, life stress, and mental and sleep disorders.
Arousal parasomnias, especially night terrors and confusional arousals, are often the expression of a mental disorder. Other life or medical conditions, such as shift work or excessive need of sleep for confusional arousals and stressful events for sleepwalking, may also trigger parasomnias. Prevalence rates are based on self-reported data and, consequently, are likely underestimated.

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    • "Consistent with this view, several subsequent studies reported the presence of severe and pervasive psychiatric disorders in adults presenting with SW or with a mixture of SW and sleep terrors (ST) [13] [26] [27]. Self-report epidemiologic investigations indicate that approximately 25% of adult sleepwalkers report a concurrent anxiety or mood disorder [7] and that SW is more frequent among individuals who consume psychotropic medications [28]. However, other studies indicate that a majority of adult sleepwalkers neither show elevated scores on questionnaire measures of psychopathology [29], nor meet criteria for psychiatric or personality disorders based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition [11] [30]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sleepwalking (SW) often has been associated with psychopathology, but the nature and magnitude of this relation remains unclear. The aim of our study was to investigate the presence of psychopathology in a large cohort of sleepwalkers and to determine if levels of psychopathology showed differential relations to specific characteristics of the disorder, including clinical history. One-hundred and five sleepwalkers (39 men, 66 women; mean age, 32.4±9.5years) referred to our sleep disorders clinic for chronic SW underwent a comprehensive clinical investigation that included an overnight polysomnography (PSG) assessment in 90% of cases. All participants also completed a series of questionnaires, including the Beck Depression Inventory, Second Revision (BDI-II), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90-R). The proportion of sleepwalkers who scored above the minimal clinical threshold on the BDI-II, BAI, and SCL-90-R was 27%, 40%, and 28%, respectively. Only 15% of sleepwalkers showed moderate to severe symptoms on the BDI-II and 19% on the BAI. Taken as a whole, these profiles are similar to those observed in the general adult population. The presence of psychopathology in sleepwalkers was associated with a negative family history for SW, a higher frequency of nightmares, and with potentially injurious behaviors enacted during somnambulistic episodes. A majority of adult sleepwalkers consulting for the disorder do not report clinically significant levels of depression or anxiety. Overall, sleepwalkers with and without psychopathology appear more similar than dissimilar.
    Sleep Medicine 10/2013; 14(12). DOI:10.1016/j.sleep.2013.05.023 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    • "The episode lasts >40 s and the EEG remains characterized by deltatheta activity despite the motor behavior. Epilepsia ILAE become less common with increasing age and eventually cease (Ohayon et al., 1999). The prevalence of NREM parasomnias in adults is unknown, but mostly represent a continuation of episodes after adolescence, sometimes after having been symptom free for several years. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although parasomnias should be considered benign conditions without a deleterious impact on sleep quality and quantity, especially in children, it is important to recognize and properly diagnose these phenomena. Moreover, parasomnias may be misdiagnosed as epileptic seizures, in particular seizures with a predominant complex motor behavior as seizures occurring in nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (NFLE), leading to unnecessary and expensive investigations and prolonged and unsuccessful treatment. In this article we describe the clinical and neurophysiologic features of the most common parasomnias, giving the most reliable elements of differential diagnosis between parasomnias and epileptic nocturnal seizures, namely the typical seizures occurring in NFLE. The diagnostic value of history-taking, video-polysomnography, home video recording, and diagnostic scales is discussed. Next we describe the intriguing aspect of the frequent coexistence, in the same family and even in the same patients, of epileptic and parasomniac attacks, giving a common neurophysiologic interpretation. Finally some brief indications to the treatment of parasomnias are suggested.
    Epilepsia 12/2012; 53 Suppl 7(s7):12-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03710.x · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    • "Somnambulism is considered a ''disorder of arousal'' [3] as affected individuals experience difficulties transitioning from NREM sleep to full awakening. This parasomnia is common and affects up to 4% of adults [4] [5]. Whereas the occurrence of sleepwalking in children is frequently viewed as a relatively benign condition, somnambulism in adults can result in injury to the sleeper or to others [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: It has been suggested that sleepwalkers are more difficult to awaken from sleep than are controls. However, no quantified comparisons have been made between these two populations. The main goal of this study was to assess arousal responsiveness via the presentation of auditory stimuli (AS) in sleepwalkers and controls during normal sleep and recovery sleep following sleep deprivation. Ten adult sleepwalkers and 10 age-matched control subjects were investigated. After a screening night, participants were presented with AS during slow-wave sleep (SWS), REM, and stage 2 sleep either during normal sleep or daytime recovery sleep following 25 h of sleep deprivation. The AS conditions were then reversed one week later. When compared to controls sleepwalkers necessitated a significantly higher mean AS intensity (in dB) to induce awakenings and arousal responses during REM sleep whereas the two groups' mean values did not differ significantly during SWS and stage 2 sleep. Moreover, when compared to controls sleepwalkers had a significantly lower mean percentage of AS that induced arousal responses during REM sleep while the opposite pattern of results was found during SWS. The data indicate that sleepwalkers have a higher auditory awakening threshold than controls, but only for REM sleep. These findings may reflect a compensatory mechanism of the homeostatic process underlying sleep regulation during sleepwalkers' REM sleep in reaction to their difficulties maintaining consolidated periods of NREM sleep.
    Sleep Medicine 02/2012; 13(5):490-5. DOI:10.1016/j.sleep.2011.10.031 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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