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January 15, 1982

Sleep Paralysis and Nocturnal Seizure Disorder

JAMA. 1982;247(3):303. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320280025010

To the Editor.—  I was especially interested in the issue presented by Christopher L. Luck, MD, as "Sleep Disturbance" (1981;246:163) and the careful evaluation and response by the consultants, David A. Drachman, MD, and Sheldon Kapen, MD, who appropriately considered the possible diagnoses, sleep paralysis and seizure disorder. The description by Dr Luck does indeed suggest sleep paralysis, as noted by the consultants. It is also understandable that they consider a "nocturnal seizure disorder."During the past 36 years I have encountered many patients with sleep paralysis, occurring rarely at times and with considerable frequency at others, and have published a number of articles about them, stressing descriptive and psychodynamic features1 as well as evidence of sleep paralysis episodes in classic works of art and literature. A novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one example of the latter.2 The phenomenon has long been encountered and given various names.