A challenging case of sexsomnia in an adolescent female presenting with depressive-like symptoms.

Publication date: Jul 10, 2023

Sleep-related sexualized behaviors occur in the parasomnia known as sexsomnia, recognized as a variant of confusional arousals in the ICSD-3. These instinctive behaviors of a sexual nature emerge from deep NREM sleep and patients often present with distinguishing features within this sleep disorder category. There are often adverse psychosocial consequences, and not uncommonly medico-legal implications. While associations to psychiatric consequences from the sexsomnia have been demonstrated and efforts to further typify this condition have been made, sexsomnia remains incompletely characterized in the more than 200 published cases to date, with male predominance. We now present the first reported case of an adolescent female with sexsomnia that was triggered by the onset of Crohn’s disease and its treatment with azathioprine, and with interpersonal consequences leading to an initial psychiatric consultation on account of depressive symptoms. These symptoms were deemed to be secondary to the sexsomnia. In addition to describing unusual and clinically relevant features in this case of sexsomnia, this original case provides insights into triggers, predisposing factors, perpetuating factors and therapeutic considerations that are important for raising awareness in sleep clinicians, primary care providers and mental health professionals.

Concepts Keywords
Azathioprine adolescence
Clinicians cognitive behavioral therapy
Depressive depression
Initial females
Sexsomnia NREM parasomnia


Type Source Name
disease MESH parasomnia
disease MESH confusional arousals
disease MESH sleep disorder
drug DRUGBANK Azathioprine

Original Article

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