Are parasomnias curable?

This question was asked in Colorado Springs, Colorado on 07/18/2012.
I am diagnosed with severe depression, PTSD, anxiety, and abnormal stress. I suffer from non-REM sleep parasomnias. I am a 62-year-old male who has struggled with this for 10 years. I no longer sleep with my wife for fear of hurting her. I act out everything in my sleep, but the doctors did a week-long test and told me I never enter REM sleep. I am supposedly wide awake during my episodes. I am taking Prazosin, Nortriptyline, Klonopin, Lexapro and Zyprexa. Have you ever heard of this before and is it curable?

Doctors Answers (2)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 7/23/2012

Many parasomnias are treatable, maybe a few are curable. You have multiple diagnoses which are often interrelated. Your primary concern is the non-REM related parasomnia. The prazosin you take is often very helpful. Many of your medications suppress REM sleep. There may need to be a review of your medications. I cannot recommend medication but there is an alternative to prazosin which could be prescribed by your primary care doctor or a sleep specialist.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 7/20/2012

Some parsomnias in childhood (disorders or arousal, nightmares, bed wetting) subside in late childhood and the teen years and are never seen again. Others persist into adulthood and need active treatment as they may in fact be lifelong. You should consult a sleep specialist to confirm the diagnosis or get a second opinion. Your medicine list should also be looked at closely as some of the medicines like Lexapro and Zyprexa can actually worsen/exacerbate some parasomnia and sleep disorders (Restless Legs).