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Oral presentations
OP.05 Assessment of sleep disorders in psychiatric practice
  1. H Selsick

    Hugh Selsick attained a BSc in Physiology, a BSc Honours in Experimental Physiology and MBBCh at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He works as a psychiatrist for Camden and Islington Foundation Trust in London. He is the chair of the Sleep Group, a special interest group in the Section of Neuropsychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is Lead Clinician of the Insomnia Clinic at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine/University College London Hospitals. His special interests are insomnia and the relationship between sleep and psychiatric disorders.


There is often a perception that Sleep Medicine relies largely on very specialised laboratory investigations, such as the overnight polysomnogram, to reach a diagnosis. But in fact a good history is a vital first step in the process of assessing sleep disorders and may in fact be sufficient to reach a diagnosis in several disorders. However, taking a sleep history has the added complication that you are trying to elicit information about what happens to the patient when they are not fully conscious! This can therefore seem a daunting task.

This talk aims to present a practical approach to taking a sleep history that breaks the history down into discrete areas, namely (1) what happens during sleep (2) what happens during wakefulness (3) what happens at the sleep/wake boundary and (4) how these all fit together over the course of a 24-h period. It will also cover some of the questionnaires used to assist history taking and will offer some guidance on when and where to refer patients for more specialist assessments and investigations.

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