(HealthDay News) – Although confusional arousals (CAs) are common in the general population, they may be associated with other factors, such as medication consumption, sleep disorders, and mental disorders, according to research published in the Aug. 26 issue of Neurology.

Maurice M. Ohayon, MD, PhD, of Stanford University in California, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study, using a representative sample of the U.S. general population, to assess the prevalence of CAs and the effect of medication, sleep, and mental disorders on risk of CAs. Data were analyzed for 19,136 noninstitutionalized individuals aged ≥18 years.

The researchers found that 15.2% of individuals reported episodes of CAs in the preceding year. CAs were frequently associated with sleep disorders (70.8%). Mental disorders, particularly bipolar disorder or panic disorder, were related to 37.4% of CAs. Use of psychotropic medications, mainly antidepressants, was observed in 31.3% of CAs. After ruling out possible causes and associated conditions, only 0.9% of the sample was found to have CA disorder.

“These episodes of confused awakening have not gotten much attention, but given that they occur at a high rate in the general population, more research should be done on when they occur and whether they can be treated,” Ohayon said in a statement. “People with sleep disorders or mental health issues should also be aware that they may be at greater risk of these episodes.”

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