Parasomnias in patients with addictions-a systematic review

CNS Spectr. 2022 Feb;27(1):58-65. doi: 10.1017/S1092852920001911. Epub 2020 Oct 23.


Parasomnias are involuntary behaviors or subjective experiences during sleep. Our objective was to review existing information on the presence of parasomnias in patients with addictions or during treatment for addictions. Information about parasomnias related to rapid-eye-movement (REM) and non-REM sleep in patients with addictions, while using substances or in abstinence, was reviewed. A systematic search of published articles reporting parasomnias as a consequence of drug use or abuse was conducted in the PubMed and SciELO databases. The search for the studies was performed in three phases: (1) by title, (2) by abstract, and (3) by complete text. The search was performed independently by two researchers, who then compared their results from each screening phase. Seventeen articles were found. The consumption of alcohol was reported in association with arousal disorders, such as sexsomnia and sleep-related eating disorder; and REM sleep behavior disorder was reported during alcohol withdrawal. Cocaine abuse was associated with REM sleep behavior disorder with drug consumption dream content. Overall, we found that several types of parasomnias were very frequent in patients with addictions. To avoid accidents in bedroom, legal problems, and improve evolution and prognosis; must be mandatory to include security measures related to sleep period; avoid pharmacological therapy described as potential trigger factor; improve sleep hygiene; and give pharmacological and behavioral treatments for patients with these comorbid sleep disorders.

Keywords: Abstinence; REM parasomnias; addiction; non-REM parasomnias; withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism*
  • Humans
  • Parasomnias* / diagnosis
  • Parasomnias* / epidemiology
  • Parasomnias* / therapy
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Sleep
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome*