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Hallucinations from sleep deprivation
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Hallucinations from sleep deprivation

Doc,

I would be very grateful if you could help me.   My husband has had problems with sleeping now for many years.   He has always had trouble getting to sleep since a child, however, over the last few years it has gotten much much worse.  

He can survive two nights without any sleep, and then when it gets to the third day he is affected severely by sleep deprivation.   He will hallucinate, talk things that make no sense whatsoever, falls asleep eating, standing, on the floor basically anyway, he will just crash completely.   Then come next morning he remembers nothing at all.   When I have spoken to him about it (when he has awoken properly) he thinks that the things he is talking about are his dreams because he is effectively asleep but still walking as if he is awake.    During this state he has no control over his actions and is a completely different person, a person that is not exactly very nice to me at all!    

I am finding it increasingly hard to deal with this and our doctor just gives him sleeping tablets for a couple of weeks, then nothing again, as they will not prescibe them long term.  I do not think he has sleep apnea as his breathing does not stop.  However, during his deep sleeps after a few days of none he will snore heavily and his legs will twitch a lot.

Please help as this is severely affecting our marriage and I do not know what to do.

Just for the record, he does suffer from oesteoporis and sever back pain which he takes a large dose of oxycontin for.  Our doctors have explained his sleep problem on the tablets, but he had these problems before taking the tablets.

Avatar_dr_m_tn
I would definitely take him in to see a sleep doctor. It's been shown that spouses or bed-partners make very poor predictors when diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. His history of snoring and leg twitches makes this much more likely. Sleeping pills will not help if you stop breathing at night. Another possible aggravating factor is that any narcotic that depresses your nervous system can make the sleep breathing problem even worse.
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