07:40am Wednesday 22 November 2017

Eyes Wide Shut: Sleepwalking Common in Adults?

The study is published in the May 15, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“While our results show that having psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder may increase the risk of sleepwalking, they also suggest that sleepwalking is much more common in adults than was previously thought and may have other natural causes as well,” said study author Maurice M. Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD, with Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

Scientists interviewed 15,929 Americans ages 18 and older from 15 states. Participants were asked questions about their sleeping habits, general health, medications taken and mental disorders. In the study, 30 percent had a history of sleepwalking. Of those, 3.6 percent reported sleepwalking at least once in the past year. One percent had two or more episodes in a month and 2.6 percent had between one and 12 episodes in the past year. People who sleepwalked at least once in the previous year were more likely to have a family history of sleepwalking than the rest of the participants, by about 30 percent to 17 percent.

The study found that people who had depression were 3.5 times more likely to sleepwalk and those with obsessive compulsive disorder were four times more likely to sleepwalk than people without the disorders. A total of 3.1 percent of those with depression were sleepwalking twice a month or more, compared to 0.9 percent of those with no depression, and 7.3 percent of those with obsessive compulsive disorder were sleepwalking twice a month or more, compared to 1 percent without the disorder.

People who took certain antidepressants were three times more likely to sleepwalk twice a month or more compared to those who didn’t take antidepressants, 2.4 percent compared to 0.9 percent.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Arrillaga Foundation, the Bing Foundation and Neurocrines Biosciences.

To learn more about sleep disorders, visit http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

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