Abnormal behavior during sleep, also known as parasomnia, is a diverse group of sleep disorders. The one thing common to all of them is the patient exhibits abnormal sleep behavior that the family notices, but quite often, the patient does not.
Some patients (usually children) may wake up crying, confused and inconsolable. Some patients (usually children) may sleepwalk or sleep talk, although these can occur in adults too. Some individuals may go to the kitchen and eat or bring some food back to the bedroom and eat (sleep related eating disorders) without even knowing that they have done this. However, a few patients with eating disorders during sleep (nocturnal eating disorder) wake up in the middle of the night and go to the kitchen looking for food and are aware that they are doing this.
There are other parasomnias that may have more sinister underlying causes. These include REM sleep behavior (repetitive violent dreams) that causes injury; seizures during sleep; and movement disorders during sleep. These may be characterized by a more serious underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or neurological disorders like brain tumors, and Parkinson's Disease. These parasomnias may also cause physical injury.
It may be important to see the sleep doctor if you think that you or your loved one may have a parasomnia. It may be important to diagnose an underlying cause of this parasomnia if one exists. There is treatment available for parasomnias.
Our board-certified sleep doctor at the Sleep Medicine Institute of Texas is knowledgeable about parasomnias, their causes and their treatments, and may be able to help you or you're loved one. Please call us at 903-787-7533 or click HERE to begin the process of scheduling a personalized consultation with us at Sleep Medicine Institute of Texas.