Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Post to a Parasomnia Message Board

The following was a post I wrote (one of many actually!) to a Parasomnia Message Board in an attempt to get some online support or help.

Post Subject: My Dad's RBD Experience
Posted: December 24, 2007

First, my heart goes out to all who suffer from or love someone with a parasomnia, particularly RBD as that's the disorder I am most familiar with. I know all too well the emotional and physical pain it can bring to all involved.

My Dad is 64 and was diagnosed with RBD about 6 years ago. His story is very similar to those described. He's done everything from jump through a window, to cut open his head from throwing himself out of bed, to severely damage his hands by beating up the floor and the walls, to throw furniture, to most devastating of all to him, harm my Mom when they were sharing a bed (which they no longer can do because of the danger this disorder can pose to bed partners).

Aside from the sheer terror he felt, he was also exhausted, confused, growing increasingly depressed and truly feared he was losing his mind. It took 3 doctors before one even suggested RBD and then a sleep study confirmed it. He was prescribed Klonopin and then later they added Remeron, both of which he is still taking to date. He was also prescribed Cymbalta for depression. He was also diagnosed with sleep apnea and put on a CPAP machine.

Another thing perhaps worth mentioning is that is was discovered that my Dad has a large (literally the size of a pear) arachnoid cyst in his right frontal lobe. It is benign and they believe it has probably been there since birth, although obviously they can't be sure. Whether it has anything to do with the RBD they have no idea and I haven't been able to find much information saying that it in fact could.

Today my Dad's sleep has definitely improved, but by no means is his RBD a non-issue. He still has episodes about 4-5 x month. They're virtually impossible to predict, but there does seem to be a relationship between them and stress. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but it certainly seems that way. He sleeps in a different room than my Mom and that room is pretty much barren except for a table and a mattress on the floor on which he sleeps. Every night he wears thick, padded gloves to bed to protect his hands in case he beats the floor and he often ties his ankles and his wrists together in an effort to restrain himself and thus prevent himself from being able to cause himself any physical harm. Strange as it sounds, he actually feels better when he restrains himself because then at least he knows he'll be somewhat protected from himself should he have an episode. On top of all that he's also hooked up to the CPAP. It's a sad sight to say the least.

I hope both to find and offer support here in this forum. Of course I also wish to learn more, to keep abreast of any new research and to offer as much help as I possible can to my wonderful Dad.

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