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"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

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Sleepwalking Disorder

Sleepwalking is a condition that is characterized by episodes of waking up during sleep and walking about during the first third of the major sleep episode.

While sleepwalking, the person has a blank, staring faced, is relatively unresponsive to the efforts of others to communicate with him or her, and can be awakened only with great difficulty.

On awakening (either from the sleepwalking episode or the next morning), the person has amnesia for the episode.

Within several minutes after awakening from the sleepwalking episode, there is no impairment of mental activity or behavior (although there may initially be a short period of confusion or disorientation).

The sleepwalking causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

    Confusional Arousals

    Sleepwalking episodes can include a variety of behaviors. In mild episodes (sometimes called "confusional arousals"), the individual may simply sit up in bed, look about, or pick at the blanket or sheet. More typically, the individual actually gets out of bed and may walk into closets, out of the room, up and down stairs, and even out of buildings. Individuals may use the bathroom, eat, and talk during episodes. Running and frantic attempts to escape some apparent threat can also occur. Most behaviors during sleepwalking episodes are routine and of low complexity. However, cases of unlocking doors and even operating machinery have been reported. Particularly in childhood, sleepwalking can also include inappropriate behavior (e.g., urinating in a closet).

      Diagnostic criteria summarized from:

      American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.


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