The "sleep drunkenness "It's more common than previously thought, and affects about one in 15 Americans, according to a recent study that looked at lifestyle habits. dream of more than 19 thousand adults.
The condition, which is also known as awakening confusional , causes people to wake up in a state of confusion, not knowing where they are. In the most serious cases they can harm themselves, or others, explains the lead researcher, the doctor Maurice Ohayon, professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine .
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"There was a case of a man in a boat that woke up in a confused state, fell off the deck and killed himself," Ohayon says.
In addition to such extreme cases, there have been others in which waking up in a confused state has caused a person to hit their bed partner. Most then can not remember the incident.
Ohayon noted that those episodes can occur even when he takes a nap. "This happens to most people occasionally, for example when they have a jet lag," he said. The difference is that these episodes are frequent among those who suffer from confusional awakening, he notes.
The treatment for wake Confusing is to treat the other sleep problems that patients suffer, Ohayon says. When these problems are treated, the condition often goes away.
There is an ongoing debate about whether the drunkenness of dream it is an independent condition or a symptom of other sleep problems, notes Ohayon.
In the report published in the magazine Neurology , the doctor David Rye, professor of neurology at Emory University, in Atlanta , notes that "confusional awakening exists, and is probably more common than we thought".
But he adds that "as in most epidemiological surveys, what is reported are associations, not causes and effects."
For the study, researchers interviewed more than 19,000 people aged 18 and older about their sleep habits and whether they had experienced symptoms of confusional arousal. They were also asked if they had been diagnosed with a mental illness and about the drugs they were taking.
The researchers found that 15% of the participants had had an episode of confusional arousal in the previous year. More than half of those people said they had had more than one episode per week.
In the majority of cases, 84%, the study participants said that in addition to the drunkenness of the dream They had other sleep disorders, a mental health disorder or used psychotropic drugs, for example antidepressants. Less than 1% of those who had sleep drunkenness had no other sleep disorder, the researchers found.
Among those suffering from confusional arousal, 37% also had a mental health problem. Those who had depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety tended to be more prone to drunken sleep, the study authors note.
Sleep drunkenness is also associated with sleeping too much or too little. About 20% of those who slept less than six hours a night and 15% of those who slept at least nine hours a night suffered from sleep drunkenness, the researchers found. In addition, people with sleep apnea were also more likely to have the problem.
Rye does not think the study addresses the most common problems associated with drunkenness or drunkenness dream .
The confusional awakening is not well defined, he says. "We need to know more about how to define and recognize those who have the problem, how it negatively affects the lives of patients, how large the unmet clinical need is, and whether a doctor should be concerned about the complaint," Rye points.
Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant chief of the psychiatry unit at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, said that "many patients and doctors are not aware of what confusional awakenings are, they can often be misinterpreted as other neurological conditions and psychiatric. "
Krakower notes that it is important to treat the underlying medical problem to avoid confusional awakenings.
"In addition, maintaining the proper sleep regime is very important to prevent these premature awakenings," he emphasizes.