Medical Q&As

Sleepwalking - treatment?

I'm a 25 year old male and I sleepwalk quite regularly. I am more likely to do it when I have had a drink and sometimes I have urinated in my bedroom and other rooms while sleepwalking. As you can imagine, this had led to a few embarrassing situations. My question is would a psychologist be able to help me overcome this problem?

Sleepwalkers often have a strong family history of sleepwalking. Alcohol can trigger sleepwalking as can fever, sleep deprivation, general illness and stress. Medication can also precipitate sleepwalking. The sleepwalker’s eyes are usually open during their night-walking but they are likely to stumble about and may turn on lights or walk through open doors or windows. The typical sleepwalker’s EEG reveals a mixture of brain waves that we associate with both deep sleep and relaxed wakefulness. Protection from injury should be the chief priority in dealing with a person that sleepwalks. The bedroom floor should be kept clear of objects that the person might trip over and it is also important to remove any hazardous material or sharp objects from the bedroom. Medication such as a tricyclic antidepressant or a benzodiazepine can be helpful because of the manner in which they alter the brain wave pattern during sleep. Hypnosis and biofeedback techniques have also been used successfully to treat this condition. In that context a psychologist with particular expertise in those areas could be very helpful to you.