A case of extreme parasomnia: a patient mutilates his genitals in his sleep | The USA Print

Parasomnia is classified into two distinct categories: non-REM parasomnias and REM parasomnias. Non-REM parasomnias appear during the so-called “non-REM” phase of sleep, while REM parasomnias occur during REM sleep, also called REM (for rapid eye movements). The first, non-REM, are relatively frequent, especially in childrenand concern approximately 1-4% of the adult population. They can take different forms: sleepwalking, sleep-related eating disorders, night terrors in children, or a state of confusion characterized by a troubled attitude, disorientation and few memories on waking. REM parasomnias, on the other hand, are rarer and may be associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies. The two characteristic manifestations of REM parasomnias are sleep paralysis and abnormal behaviors, sometimes violent for the affected person and others. Other associated disorders may aggravate these parasomnias, such asobstructive sleep apneawhich is one of the most important factors (source 1).

A particularly violent case of parasomnia has been reported by doctors in the central region of Ghana. A 47-year-old Ghanaian farmer fell asleep in his chair after his lunch and dreamed that he was cutting meat to share with his family. When he woke up, he realized that he had mutilated his genitals during his sleep. He was taken to Assim Akomfode Hospital, where doctors quickly managed the pain and diagnosed the case as non-REM parasomnia. He endured reconstructive surgery and received pain medication upon arrival.

Most parasomnias have no effects or impacts on the individuals who experience them or those around them and do not require treatment. However, when the patient’s behaviors are dangerous, medications can be prescribed to calm the patient’s nights. In the most extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the damage done during sleep. Doctors may recommend a mixture of benzodiazepines and melatonin to help patients with parasomnia to minimize the risk of dangerous behaviors during sleep.

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