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Fightclub-type sleepwalking personality?!


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First off, I hope I've posted this in the right place. Still finding my way around, so bear with me!

My hubby sleepwalks. But not just sleepwalking, it's gone further. I mean he carries out complex actions, cooks, eats, has conversations that are rational and two-way, and has absolutely NO recollection of it. He has opinions and preferences completely different from when awake, it's like another person inhabiting his body (hence the fightclub reference, dunno if you've see the film). This has been getting more apparent, happening more often, and now he has been becoming this other personality with no memory of anything he says or does BEFORE he goes to sleep. We call the night personality Tyler, after the character in the film. So he becomes Tyler earlier and earlier these days, well before bedtime. Tyler knows everything my hubby knows, but he doesn't know anything of Tyler. I'm obviously a bit worried.

If it helps, he has a long history of insomnia, treated with Zopiclone 7.5mg, drug addictions when younger, PTSD, temporal lobe epilepsy treated with a currently rising dose of Levotiracetam, Olanzapine 10mg. Recently found out he was diagnosed Bipolar, too.

I have my own issues, but this is getting to be a problem too. I sleep badly at the best of times (I take Zopiclone too) but I am disturbed by him getting up and I CAN'T go back to sleep in case he is trying to cook and leaves the gas on, or whatever. Or falls over, which happens too often for my liking, like the other month he fell down the stairs and smashed the window next to the front door. Any thoughts appreciated, like is it schizophrenia? Dissociative disorder of some sort? The medication? What advice can you give to us about managing it? Help!!!!

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I'm going to be "captain obvious" here but can you please ask his doctor who prescribes the sleeping pills about this? This is very dangerous and needs to be dealt with immediately. It sounds like some form of sleep walking. I couldn't tell you being that I don't know him and I"m not his doctor. Ask his doc ;)

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Mrsmaz, this probably needs to be something you call in to his neurologist and his psychiatrist (both, and let both offices know that you're calling both offices) first thing on Wednesday.

And his GP, if that's who prescribes his zopiclone. So that would be three calls: neuro, psych, and GP. Call neuro first. Talk to the nurse. Describe exactly what you describe in the post.

This isn't up to you guys to manage, OK? This doesn't sound like a 'behavior' problem.

I could ask all kinds of interesting questions about the med timeline and the history timeline. But that's his neurologist's job. So call the neuro.

If he doesn't have a common chart to all of his doctors' offices (I don't know if you're in the US or somewhere with national health service), it would be handy when you called them if you had:

- the starting date for ALL of his medications and the dates of any changes (the pharmacy will have the info - tell them you're trying to gather information for the neurologist)

- when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder

- when he was diagnosed with the temporal lobe epilepsy

- when the weird sleep stuff started

- about when it got worse

Make up a list in date order of all the meds/diagnoses/etc if you get the chance.

But don't take so long you don't call neuro and everyone else in the morning, OK? Great.

by the way - has he had a sleep study? Because he's likely gonna have one soon.

--S.

ps: I'm moving this to NOS. It could go to Sleep Disorders or Shake Rattle and Roll, and you didn't do anything wrong by putting it here, but it's sort of in between all of the above. So... NOS.

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Yes, he's told his pdoc and GP, yes, they know all the details, the medication he's currently on is supposed to get changed soon because of it. They took him off Lamotrigine and changed to Levotiracetam because of it, and want to increase his Olanzapine to 12.5mg from 10mg and Zopiclone from 7.5mg to 15mg ALL because of this. They made his next appointment APRIL despite all this. We are in the UK, btw, so you are kind of stuck with seeing whoever is on at the time, not one doc. Lost count how many different psychs he's seen in the last 5 years. If it helps, PTSD started 2000ish after two violent muggings, sustaining head injuries and severed fingers. He only just found out the Bipolar bit, dunno how long that was diagnosed. Substance abuse since teens (inc cannabis which he reckons chills him out enough to deal with his racing mind), alcohol to help sleep (not that it does, he's realising that now!).

I suspected I'd get the standard "see your doc" answers, but am now more worried by the urgency you guys placed on it! He only saw the pdoc on Monday. He did say though it'd be helpful for me to go along next time to explain and describe what my hubby can't. His neuro is aware of it, his GP is aware of it, so why has it not been taken more seriously yet????

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I'd suggest that you write down the timeline as I lined it out earlier: dates of symptoms, med prescriptions/changes, etc. Maybe you can fax that to the psych, since he or she is asking for the input, or drop it off at the office? Along with a printed-out copy of this thread?

If you do up a nice copy of it, may as well send a copy or drop a copy at neuro and GP as well, and keep updating it on your computer as things change. Basically, you're trying for a timeline here.

It's not so much a standard "see your doc" answer as a "this isn't a behavior modification or support situation" answer. I'm really not trying to blow you off. This is clearly a really distressing situation for you two.

I'd also see if you can get on the cancellation list at the relevant offices. Check back with them about every two weeks - basically, enough to stay visible, not enough to be a pain in the ass. Sorry if you're already doing this - just thought I'd say it in case you weren't.

Neither cannabis nor alcohol are helping this situation, I'm afraid. Not being preachy. It's just that they're muddying the waters a lot here. If he drinks enough alcohol that he's a withdrawal risk, then he needs to go talk to his doc about that if he's going to quit. If he's not sure if he's a withdrawal risk... then he definitely needs to go talk to his physician (any of them!), considering his seizure and brain-injury history and what else he's on.

It seems odd to increase the zopiclone dose given the history you're describing, so I think there's a piece I'm missing here. Did it seem to help things much or change them at all? Haven't had much sleep today, so it's probably at my end if I'm missing something, and not yours - sorry if I'm a bit fuzzy-headed.

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