Sleepwalking is a condition that causes a person to wake up at night and walk while they are asleep without any memory of it. It causes the sleepwalker not to respond during the event and may trigger violent behavior by the sleepwalker. To an extent, it may affect the health-related quality of life of that individual.
What causes sleepwalking in adults?
Several factors trigger this disorder in adults, and they include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Sleeping with a full bladder
- Sleep deprivation
- Certain medication such as sedative-hypnotics
- Disorders like sleep apnea
- Medical conditions like nighttime seizures and asthma
In most cases, sleepwalking doesn’t really cause problems and may be considered harmless. The problem, however, comes when some suffer injuries, from falls or bumping into things, some have even been run over by cars during the night. These individuals are considered vulnerable since they do not act rationally, or as they would during the day.
Risks associated with sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking may involve bizarre and inappropriate behaviors. Sleepwalkers may engage in criminal acts, posing a danger to the people close to the sleepwalkers. It gets worse since the individual does not even remember the actions they did during the night.
This disorder may cause a person to drive during the night and get injured or injure somebody else. Some have been reported to have sexually assaulted those close to them while sleepwalking. This condition is called sexsomnia. Some of these acts may cause family feuds and breakups, and the worst part is that the sleepwalker does this without knowing.
The violence during sleepwalking poses a high risk to both the sleepwalker and the community at large.
What is the Treatment for Sleepwalking?
Once one realizes that they have this undiagnosed condition, it is essential that they visit the health provider and especially if the sleepwalker or those around him notice worsened behavior by the sleepwalker. One should immediately seek the services of a health provider if:
- The sleepwalking is frequent
- The sleepwalker happen to engage in perilous acts such as driving while asleep
- If the sleepwalker notices other symptoms that they didn’t have initially such as sleep terrors.
Actions have to be taken by the family or those who live with the sleepwalker to minimize the risk of injury by the sleepwalker. For example, putting deadlocks on doors and windows to prevent the sleepwalker from escaping during the night.
To reduce harm by the overly violent sleepwalkers, ensure you put away any potential weapons from their sight. Other measures that you can take include waking the sleepwalker some few minutes before the time they usually sleepwalk. This will in a way distort them and prevent them from sleepwalking. Hypnosis may also be useful in adults since it helps them focus and concentrate more on things happening around them.
Adult sleepwalkers should also avoid alcohol, interpersonal conflicts or things that may cause them to have stress and anxiety.
As much as sleepwalking is considered harmless by most, it is vital for the society to understand the risks that may come with it, and especially if the condition persists and escalates to another level. The violence that comes with it poses a threat to both the sleepwalker and other people that surround them. Full support should, therefore, be given to them to enable them to have a better life.