Somnambulism, commonly known as sleepwalking, is a parasomnia that has six diagnostic criteria that must be met according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. It is marked by inappropriate physical behaviors that disrupt sleep. Upon awakening the individual is confused and has no memory of the episode. Sleepwalking peaks in childhood and usually resolves itself in adolescence. Adults that experience sleepwalking are more likely to have had episodes as children. The disorder is most prevalent in females during childhood and men in adulthood. Individuals with mood disorders such as anxiety or depression are more likely to present symptoms of somnambulism. Genetic predispositions are very important when determining whether an individual will develop the disorder. However, it is essential to remember that environmental influences like stressful events are usually needed to galvanize the genetic predisposition. The use of medications can both trigger and correct somnambulism. Along with medications, hypnosis, and anticipatory awakening have also been shown to relieve the symptoms of sleepwalking. Somnambulism can be a dangerous disorder. While asleep individuals have been known to put their own lives, as well as the lives of others at risk. There have even been reports of a people who suffer from somnambulism committing murder while asleep. Courts have acknowledged the excuse of somnambulism to declare an individual innocent of their crime. However, this proposes several dangers. How are we supposed to control these individuals from committing another crime? Also, there have not been enough studies on successful treatment, so how will we know that these individuals will be corrected with treatment? It seems as though the consequences for crimes committed while sleepwalking are inadequate. Somnambulism and the Dangers
Sleep disorders are separated into two categories, parasomnias or dyssomnias. Dyssomnias are...
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