Mar 24, 2020 in Nursing

Adult Sleepwalking Is More Dangerous Than Children Sleepwalking

The first time I heard about the sleepwalking disorder was when my grandma told be about an incident about a college student who fell off from fifth floor at night. Sleepwalking also formally referred to as somnambulism is a behavior syndrome that occurs during a deep sleep and causes a person to walk while in a deep sleep. The condition is more prevalent in children than in adults. It is believed that sleepwalking possible happens if an individual is sleep deprived. One interesting fact is that a person who has the somnambulism disorder may not possibly remember the sleepwalking incident. This because he or she basically remains in a deep sleep throughout the entire event of sleepwalking. Although sleepwalking is more common in children, it is more dangerous for adults. The focus of the essay will be on the causes of Somnambulism, dangers of sleepwalking and reasons why adult sleepwalking has higher risks.


Causes of Somnambulism

The common causes of sleepwalking disorder include febrile illness, sleep deprivation, certain medications, and sedative agents. Somnambulism is considered as a parasomnia which leads to undesired episodes that occur during sleep. It is important to point out that the factors that cause sleepwalking disorder in children is different than those of adults. The occurrence of somnambulism in children is more common at the ages of between three and seven. Consequently, the prevalence is higher in children with sleep apnea.

These incidences of sleepwalking also affect those children who experience bedwetting. Sleep terrors are also related to the sleep working disorder since they both tend to run in families.

Sleepwalking usual starts when a sleepwalker is in a deep sleep but may also occur when he or she is partially asleep. Sometimes it occurs during the few hours after the person falls asleep, and he is usually somewhat aroused during this event. Some of the symptoms of somnambulism include sleep talking, violent, difficulty in arousing a sleepwalker, inappropriate behaviors and screaming. These are just some of the primary symptoms of sleepwalking. However, it always varies depending on an individual.

Why Adult Sleepwalking Is Dangerous

Somnambulism in adults entails more than just walking during deep sleep. Apparently, it involves a multifarious series behaviors that occur during the episodes. However, this might not be the case in children the main reason being that children always get enough sleep. Hence, the cases of somnambulism are not severe in children as it is in adults. The symptoms of somnambulism disorder may range from sitting up in bed, leaving the house, walking around the house. Sometimes it can even involve driving long distance or undertaking some particular tasks. When children suffer from this disorder, they can easily be monitored by their parents. But in the case of adults, most of the times it can be hard to control them and protect them from harm. There is a popular, misconception that a person who sleepwalks should not be awakened. This is wrong since it can be quite perilous not to awaken a sleepwalker.

Research shows that the prevalence of somnambulism disorder in the entire population ranges between 1% and 15%. Out of this, the onset of sleepwalking is more common in childhood, and it is majorly associated with substantial psychological or psychiatric complications. For the case of adults, sleepwalking can hardly be managed because their episodes of sleepwalking are more perilous than that of children. Moreover, sleepwalking episodes in adults are often violent as they are unable to control themselves. In most cases, somnambulists walk around when while their eyes are opened, and the person will look straight through anybody but does recognize them. One interesting fact is that sleepwalkers usually maneuver very well around different objects. They may also not respond when you talk to them but sometimes they may react and utters words that do not make sense.

A recent study has shown that adult sleepwalking is a potentially severe disorder that may result in violent behaviors which have adverse effects on health-related quality of life. Therefore, the consequences of these disorders in older people should not be ignored. This study has shown that 43.5% of sleepwalking are weekly episodes, while 22.8% are nightly episodes. About 17% of adult sleepwalkers have experienced some episodes involving injuries to the sleepwalker. Some of the injuries that were reported include nose bleeds, bruises, and fractures. In other serious incidences, adult sleepwalkers have sustained manifold fractures and severe head strain. These injuries were caused by an incident where a sleepwalker jumped out of a third-floor window. During these episodes the brain is partly awake, leading to complex behaviors. These reactions also result from the non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Partial NREM sleep induces unconscious awareness of actions made by the sleepwalker.

Adult and children sleepwalking are different, in that adult sleepwalking occurs during the wave sleep cycle, while for kids it generally occurs during dark nights of sleep. Most of the times it takes place while taking a nap. Episodes of somnambulism occur differently among people, for instance, they are frequent in some people and rare on others. In some cases, wandering has resulted in severe health consequences in adults. Somnambulism may lead to anxiety and depression to a greater extent for adults. This is because of the injuries inflicted as they undertake multiple activities while they are unaware. The condition of somnambulism usual occurs during the dark had has been there for centuries.

Why Somnambulism in Children Is Less Perilous Than In Adults

Sleepwalking disorder in children can be easily managed when as compared to adults. This is because when a parent realizes that her child suffers from this condition, she will take a step to ensure that the child is protected from harm. Most of the times episodes of sleepwalking can be hazardous since sleepwalkers don't realize what they are doing. They can even walk aimlessly downstairs and on open windows. These episodes of sleepwalking among children do not last for more than ten minutes. While in adults it can even take a much longer time thus resulting in dangerous consequences. Most of the times these people cannot remember the episodes of sleepwalking. It is important to ensure that sleepwalkers are always safe and should be guided in the case of an incident. They should not be physically restrained unless they are in danger.

There are numerous incidences of adult sleepwalkers moving away from their houses. Besides, some of them have even committed crimes in their sleep. There has been particular concern that adult sleepwalkers sometimes becomes hostile during the episodes. It is usually surprising because some of the adult sleepwalkers are known to have easy going personalities and non-violent. More often, when adult sleepwalkers are woken up, they become confused and disoriented. Sometimes they can attack the person who wakes them to the extent of injuring them. However, this can also occur with children with the same disorder.

There are different measures that can be taken to treat somnambulism in children. These treatments are always recommended by the doctor or a psychiatrist. A parent whose child suffers from this condition can come up with regular and sleep and nap schedules. These plans would include nighttime and wake times. Daily naps are vital for kids since it helps in eliminating sleep deprivation which is the leading cause of somnambulism. Another approach of minimizing somnambulism in children is to reduce the number of liquids a child takes before going to bed. Also, it is essential to ensure that the child goes to the bathroom before bedtime.

This is because of a when the bladder is full there is a likelihood of somnambulism occurring in children. Moreover, a parent should ensure that they avoid giving their children drinks with caffeine. Consequently, a child's bedroom should be calm, sufficiently dark and comfortable. These measures have been proved to be effective in controlling somnambulism. Unlike in children, sleepwalking in adults is very hard to treat. This explains the reason why it is more dangerous in adults than in children. Besides, the measures used to treat somnambulism in children is not applicable to adults.

In conclusion, It is true that sleepwalking is more dangerous in adults than in children. Nevertheless, it has been found out that sleepwalking is more common in kids than in adults. What is of more concern regarding adult sleepwalkers is that they are more violent and uncontrollable. Moreover, studies have shown that sleepwalking in adults has resulted in more fractures and head traumas in adults than in children. There also effective measures that have been established to help treat somnambulism in kids. However, these measures are not applicable for adults suffering from sleepwalking due to different cognitive and psychological issues. As a result, adult somnambulism becomes hard to treat or regulate. Therefore, there is the need for medical practitioners and researchers to highlight and emphasize on it.


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