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Disorders That Disrupt Sleep (Parasomnias) (cont.)

Sleep Disorder Causes

Few, if any, specific causes exist for parasomnias, but each type of parasomnia has a number of predisposing factors. They are as follows:

Nightmare disorder

  • Personality disorders
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Other stressors
  • Drugs, for example, levodopa, beta-adrenergic drugs, and withdrawal of REM-suppressing medications

Sleep terror disorder

  • Fever
  • Sleep deprivation (lack of sleep)
  • CNS depressant medications

Sleepwalking disorder

REM sleep behavior disorder

  • Mostly no known cause
  • More commonly found in males over 50 years old with other neurologic conditions
  • Has been associated with some neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's disease, narcolepsy, and other neurologic conditions including dementia (progressive loss of intellectual functions), subarachnoid hemorrhage (leakage of blood into the space surrounding the brain), ischemic cerebrovascular disease (brain dysfunction due to reduced blood supply), olivopontocerebellar degeneration (brain disease), multiple sclerosis (disease of the central nervous system), and brain stem neoplasms (tumor)

Restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder

  • Mostly no known cause
  • Iron-deficiency anemia (amount of hemoglobin is less than normal)
  • Pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Osteoarthritis of the hips and knees
  • Drugs, for example, caffeine, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and dopamine receptor-blocking drugs
  • Neurological disorders
  • Peripheral neuropathies (disorder affecting any segment of the nervous system)
  • Various causes of myelitis
  • Postpolio syndrome
  • Diseases of the spinal cord
  • Disorders of the lumbar/sacral region
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/25/2014
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Parasomnias »

Parasomnias are disorders characterized by undesirable motor, verbal, or experiential phenomenon occurring in association with sleep, specific stages of sleep, or sleep-awake transition phases.

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