Feature Article Respiratory medicine
A guide to parasomnias
Parasomnias are relatively common. Most can be successfully managed, if necessary, with pharmacotherapy.
- Many of the parasomnias have distinguishing features that can be gleaned from the clinical history and occasionally from the physical examination and investigative studies.
- It may be necessary to differentiate parasomnias from each other and from sleep related epilepsy.
- Specialist investigation may be required in some circumstances, such as when sleep behaviours are complicated, injurious or threatening, and sometimes in medicolegal circumstances.
- For straightforward cases of sleep walking in childhood, providing explanation and reassurance may be all that is necessary.
- Simple safety precautions should be advised when parasomnia behaviour is potentially harmful.
- Most parasomnias will respond favourably to pharmacotherapy, if required.