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Question
Posted by: Amanda | 2004/02/20

Sleepwalking child

Hi Cyberdoc,
I have an 8 year old boy who sleepwalks with alarming regularity, and am wondering if there is anything that I should be doing about it.
Although is can (and does) happen on any given night, it is almost a guaranteed ocuurence when there has been some excitement or stimulation during the day. When it happens, I am generally able to just take his hand and lead him back to bed - although he is alert enough to say goodnight again etc, he doesn't seem to be altogether awake. In fact, sometimes he doesn't seem to realise that he's been asleep already, and will often stroll into the lounge to say goodnight again, go off and brush his teeth, and then go back to sleep, even though it's past midnight! Othertimes, I find him asleep in strange places (in his brothers bed, on the sofa). He is quite an active child (in fact, we've just had him assessed for ADD/ADHD and are awaiting results). Could this have anything to do with it? Is there something that i can do to ensure that he gets a proper sleep at night?

Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear amanda,
You've just given a near-perfect description of normal sleepwalking in a child, and of a sensible parent handling it very well indeed. Sleepwalking can be seen as a variety of disturbed sleep, but unless you live on the top of a cliff, is usually harmless, a phase, and usually disappears on its own ; and it doesn't seem to involve any significan loss of the benefits of sleep. I don't see it as associated with ADD/ADHD, which I am concerned, gets too frequently diagnosed and drug-treated, when his is not usually needed. If the diagnosis made is positive for this, it'd be worth considering a second opinion from a shrink not dedicated to working with ADHD.

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