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Question
Posted by: Rob | 2010/06/09

Talking in my sleep is fine. But cleaning house?

Dear Prof Simpson,

What I am about to relate really did happen.

I took a sleeping tablet, as I sometimes do (zolpidem 10mg). These are the events that took place as far as I can work out.

I ''awoke'' and ventured to the kitchen. Once there I appear to have searched through the cupboards for some reason. According to others in the house, I was also talking loudly. In the process I broke a glass of some sort (I still haven''t discovered where I put what''s left of it). I had the presence of mind to clean it up with wet newspaper as I had learnt all the way back in primary school. I did discover them in the bin though. Subsequently, I sustained a laceration to my left hand - and as a result I left bloodprints on everything I touched from then on.

I found prints in obvious places like light switches and the walls and floors. However it wasn''t until today that I opened my drawer where I keep all my meds (such as Panado and unused portions of meds I''d been on before).

All in all, judging by the blood prints on the boxes I consumed an unknown quantity of Geodon, Molipaxin &  Trepiline. Most disturbingly I also appear to have taken about ten zolpidem tablets (totaling about 100mg).

Although clearly not fatal, I do feel terrible - as in depressed and at times suicidal.

Also, I feel that I am dissociating reality - seeing my life go by as one would watch a movie. (I studied psych at tertiary level so I''m like a pharmacist reading a doctor''s script). I can now relate to someone who has suffered Dissociative Fugue - waking up and wondering what the hell happened.

Prof is this common? or am I?

Dx: F31.7
Rx: Epilim CR 500 bd, Lithium 800mg nocte, Trepiline 25mg nocte.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This could indeed be an example of dissociation. You seem to be describing a more troublesome example of sleep-walking ( and sleep-talking). This type of phenomenon is both more common and more complex than most people think - there have indeed been examples of people on thsi sort of autopilot cleaning house, even driving a car some distance, and waking in a parking lot.
There are, obviously, risks in this, of falling, having accidents ( like your laceration ) and so on - taking an overdose in such a state is a variation I haven't come across before. but would be possible.
Have you any evidence of similar episodes of sleepwalking before this ? You mention "others in the house| so there could have been some helpful observations by them, before now, which they didn't mention ?
I'm not sure that the other meds would necessarily promote this, though a sedative like zolpidem might help it to happen, as would alcohol.
It would be wise to see and discuss this with your treating / prescribin shrink, for a re-assessment, and to take precautions which are easier with others in the house - have them lock the door, for instance, with you not having access to a key during sleeping hours.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/06/10

This could indeed be an example of dissociation. You seem to be describing a more troublesome example of sleep-walking ( and sleep-talking). This type of phenomenon is both more common and more complex than most people think - there have indeed been examples of people on thsi sort of autopilot cleaning house, even driving a car some distance, and waking in a parking lot.
There are, obviously, risks in this, of falling, having accidents ( like your laceration ) and so on - taking an overdose in such a state is a variation I haven't come across before. but would be possible.
Have you any evidence of similar episodes of sleepwalking before this ? You mention "others in the house| so there could have been some helpful observations by them, before now, which they didn't mention ?
I'm not sure that the other meds would necessarily promote this, though a sedative like zolpidem might help it to happen, as would alcohol.
It would be wise to see and discuss this with your treating / prescribin shrink, for a re-assessment, and to take precautions which are easier with others in the house - have them lock the door, for instance, with you not having access to a key during sleeping hours.

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