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Obviously, a diagnosis of sleepwalking is not terribly difficult, although it usually depends on anecdotal evidence from concerned parents or relatives. In assessing your condition, I will try to determine the age at which your problem began and whether there may have been some kind of stressful event at about the same time. Other questions will focus on how often you walk and for how long, and whether any daytime behavior patterns exist that may provide further clues. Basically my goal is simply to eliminate the possible presence of other types of disorders— those caused by fever, for example, or such extreme and rare psychiatric problems as amnesia, multiple personalities, or fugue states in which victims temporarily take up entirely new lives. I may order neurological tests to rule out a diagnosis of epilepsy; psychological evaluation may also help uncover a reason for the behavior.
Often victims of sleepwalking are also prey to episodes of night terrors, a disorder characterized by extreme panic and the physical reactions that accompany it, such as increased heartbeat or sweating. In fact, it is thought that sleepwalking is a milder form of the same pathophysiology that generates night terrors. Night terrors tend to occur during the same stage of sleep as somnambulism, usually during the first hours after retiring.
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THE DIAGNOSIS OF SLEEPWALKING IS NOT TERRIBLY DIFFICULT Obviously, a diagnosis of sleepwalking is not terribly difficult, although it usually depends on anecdotal evidence from concerned parents or relatives. In assessing your condition, I will try to determine the age at which your problem began and whether there may have been some kind of stressful event at about the same time. Other questions will focus on how often you walk and for how long, and whether any daytime behavior patterns exist that may provide further clues. Basically my goal is simply to eliminate the possible presence of other types of disorders— those caused by fever, for example, or such extreme and rare psychiatric problems as amnesia, multiple personalities, or fugue states in which victims temporarily take up entirely new lives. I may order neurological tests to rule out a diagnosis of epilepsy; psychological evaluation may also help uncover a reason for the behavior.Often victims of sleepwalking are also prey to episodes of night terrors, a disorder characterized by extreme panic and the physical reactions that accompany it, such as increased heartbeat or sweating. In fact, it is thought that sleepwalking is a milder form of the same pathophysiology that generates night terrors. Night terrors tend to occur during the same stage of sleep as somnambulism, usually during the first hours after retiring.*178\226\8*

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