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BMJ. 1990 Feb 10;300(6721):360-2.

Sleepwalking, night terrors, and consciousness.

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  • 1Academic Department of Psychiatry, St George's Hospital Medical School, London.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine some personality and psychoneurotic characteristics of adults who have the sleepwalking-night terrors syndrome.

DESIGN:

Prospective assessment of two groups of consecutive patients with a firm diagnosis of either of two specific sleep disorders as established clinically and by polysomnography.

SETTING:

Outpatient sleep disorders clinic and sleep laboratory in a tertiary referral centre.

PATIENTS:

12 Patients referred consecutively to the clinic in whom a diagnosis of sleepwalking (six) or night terrors (six) was confirmed.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Psychological characteristics as measured at the time of clinical assessment by means of the Eysenck personality questionnaire, the hostility and direction of hostility questionnaire, and the Crown-Crisp experiential index.

RESULTS:

Both groups scored exceptionally highly on the hysteria scale of the Crown-Crisp experiential index and the night terrors group also scored highly on the anxiety scale. The patients with sleepwalking also scored highly on a measure of externally directed hostility.

CONCLUSIONS:

The physiological and psychological features identified in these patients, possibly reflecting different expressions of a constitutional cerebral characteristic, may be explored in terms of hysterical dissociation. The findings contribute to the debate concerning the nature of sleepwalking, in particular with and without the forensic aspects.

Comment in

PMID:
2106985
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1662124
Free PMC Article
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