Sleepwalking: What Causes It & How To Cope

Causes

Sleepwalking can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea or migraine headaches. Your doctor may wish to test you for these treatable conditions. Oftentimes, sleepwalking can also have a genetic link. If your parents have a history of sleepwalking, chances are you may sleepwalk as well.

In rare cases, certain medications can cause sleepwalking. These include the sleep medication zolpidem, known by the brand names Ambien and Edluar. A research team from Washington University tested a group of people who suffered from sleepwalking. They determined that all the sufferers had a fault on a particular chromosome and carrying just one copy of this defective DNA was enough to cause sleepwalking. According to Daily Mail, 1 in 10 children while it affects 1 in 50 adults.

It is important to note that a person prone to sleepwalking has triggers that can activate it. Although plenty of research is still being done on this phenonmenon, some of the known triggers are stress and fatigue.

What To Do?

There is no specific treatment for sleepwalking, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While sleepwalking is not always a cause of concern since many kids outgrow it, if it has led to injuries or is happening too often for comfort, then you may want to get the disorder evaluated by a physician.

Typically, people are not prescribed medication for sleepwalking, but some examples of medication that have been prescribed are benzodiazepines or antidepressants. Benzodiazepines are typically used to treat anxiety but also work for sleep disorders. Antidepressants typically treat depression but have been known to help treat sleepwalking, specifically. Furthermore, the intake of these medications help reduce stress and anxiety altogether, two triggers of sleepwalking. Again, these may be prescribed with extreme cases only. Some people even turn to hypnosis to treat the condition!

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