Discuss Explanations of Sleepwalking

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Discuss explanations of sleepwalking Introduction: Sleepwalking (somnambulism) is a condition where walking and sleeping occur at the same time, there are 3 explanations of sleepwalking: psychodynamic, neural and genetic. AO1 Psychodynamic: The psychodynamic theory suggests that sleepwalking is the expression of unresolved conscious conflicts. The sleepwalker is, in effect, ‘acting out’ repressed conflicts. The later finding that sleepwalking occurs during SWS was seen to support the psychodynamic theory, since the conditions of SWS are ideal for this to happen – the likelihood of recalling harmful repressed memories is minimal during this phase of sleep. AO2 Psychodynamic: The psychodynamic explanation of sleepwalking is supported by a case study (Abrams), it was suggested that the sleepwalking of the woman was a cry for help – the stealing being the reflection of her need to take control of her life. The woman is seen to be acting out repressed conflicts during her sleep, therefore supporting the psychodynamic theory. The psychodynamic explanation is an excepted theory of sleepwalking as there is no evidence to disprove and can be explained through case studies such as Abrams. However, there is no evidence to prove that the psychodynamic theory causes sleepwalking therefore researchers now agree that the disorder is the result of underlying biological mechanisms such as the neural and genetic explanation. AO1 Neural: The neural explanation of sleepwalking suggests that sleepwalking is caused by immaturity of neural circuits in the brain causing the brain to be in a different state than normal sleepers. This is demonstrated by Olivero who found that sleepwalking is more frequent in children because the inhibitory system is underdeveloped, so that insufficient quantities of GABA allow motor activity (GABA is released during in normal sleepers to prevent

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