[Somnambulism: clinical and eletrophysiological aspects].Orv Hetil. 2005 Jun 05; 146(23):1231-7.OH
The authors review the literature on the epidemiology, the clinical and electrophysiological symptoms of somnambulism. The disorder specified as "nREM parasomnia with awakening disorder" belongs to the nREM sleep (awakening) parasomnias. In most of the cases its occurence is familial with the highest prevalence at age 12 year. Above age 12 year most cases recover whereas 6% of prevalence is reported in adults. It is probable that most patients seek medical help only in severe cases associated with injuries, accidents or violence. Its etiology is unknown; in essence it is a sleep regulation disorder characterised by a dissociated state of partial awakening from nREM sleep: the motor system becomes awake while consciousness remains clouded. There are several medicines inducing somnambulism in patients otherwise free from this disorder. In somnambule patients the most important provoking factors are sleep deprivation as well as pathological states and circumstances evoking sleep loss. Somnambulism should be differentiated from complex partial epileptic seizures and REM behaviour disorder. As there is no specific treatment at the moment it is important to assure safe sleeping circumstances - ground flour, closed windows, and no fragile furniture. Clonazepam and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors prove sometimes effective, but the most effective methods in decreasing the frequency of somnambule episodes are the regular sleep-wakefulness schedule and the avoidance of sleep deprivation.