Homicidal Somnambulism

Submitted By Mseeley01
Words: 1868
Pages: 8

Maura Seeley
Mrs. Salerno
Pre-College English 1202-05
12 March 2014
Homicidal Somnambulism
People are capable of doing many bazaar things while they’re sleeping. Some people may snore, kick, and even have full conversations while they are fast asleep. However, actions while sleeping can, in rare cases, turn deadly. Next time you witness someone sleepwalking, you might want to steer clear from his or her path. Somnambulism, commonly known as sleepwalking, is usually a harmless characteristic that is common in younger children. Sleepwalking is one of a group of sleep-related behaviors that are most common in children’s earlier years. In many cases it is easily outgrown, but in some instances, it haunts them into their later years. Millions of Americans have sleep disorders, but only a small percentage becomes violent while they are sleepwalking. In most cases, if the sleepwalker becomes violent, it is only a minor attempt, and the victim can direct the sleepwalker back to their resting place. However, in extreme and rare cases, the sleepwalker can become out of control and is capable of committing murder, or nearly lethal actions. There are many legal standpoints and opinions on the level of guilt and the severity of punishment for these murderers. Many people feel that they are not at complete fault because of the factor that they were sleeping. However, there is really no way for investigators to know for certain if they were sleepwalking, even just long enough to commit a crime. There are many psychological studies on why there should be no leeway in the charging of murder and the actions that should be taken towards justice. Homicidal Somnambulism should not be a legal defense. Sleepwalking murders are still vicious killings and the murderers should not be pardoned from their crimes.
There are many early signs of somnambulism. Since it is most common in younger children, it can be caught early on and prevent any further injuries to the sleepwalker themselves, or others around them. Stress, lack of sleep, and sugar before bed are all common causes of sleepwalking in children. If parents are aware of these things, it may be stopped, and prevent sleepwalking later on in life. These causes are still the main factor in adult somnambulism; however, it is harder to break an adult of these habits. However, there are possible ways to stop it. There are many medications such as anti-seizure drugs, Clonazepam, and tranquilizers to help prevent any action during sleep (Cartwright). Also there are many psychologists that specialize in counseling specifically for sleep disturbances, and they are constantly discovering new methods to help their patients on a regular basis. However, many doctors disagree on whether or not sleep disorders are caused by mental illness or environmental factors such as stress, minor to major trauma, and sleep deprivation. Majority of psychologists and neurologists that specialize in sleep disorders say that aggressive acts committed while sleep walking are not caused by a mental illness, but by environmental factors such as stress, trauma, and lack of sleep (Brody).
Though there may not be any way to completely prevent somnambulism, there are many ways to help. If there are episodes of sleep arousals and there is no awareness or recall, immediate counseling is advised to prevent future arousals and the escalation of the episodes Physicians are urged to ask about any sleepwalking issues their patients may have, but many disregard it and don’t think that many people have it (Cartwright). However, millions of Americans have a sleeping disorder, though only a small amount will become violent (Brody). Though physician awareness is important, it is also important to keep the public aware. If a family member or friend is a constant sleepwalker, referral to counseling should be put into order. If there is any chance that this person might be putting themselves or the people around them into danger, giving them