Parasomnia NOS Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Parasomnia Diagnosis, Parasomnias Diagnosis, Insomnia Diagnosis, Sleep Disorder Diagnosis, Sleep Problems Diagnosis, Dyssomnias Diagnosis, Parasomnia Sleep Disorder Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Parasomnia NOS Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of parasomnia NOS is made once the patient’s condition does not meet the standard criteria defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder Fourth Edition for each specific parasomnia disorder, but the person shows signs and symptoms that disrupt or cause disturbance of their sleep. The Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) is a residual category made for disorders that belong to a large group of a disorder category but do not meet specific criteria of a specified disorder within that category.

There are important aspects when making a diagnosis for parasomnia. The evaluation for diagnosis consists of the following steps in order to determine whether the patient’s symptoms belong to a specific category of parasomnia (night terror, nightmare disorder, sleepwalking, bedwetting, rhythmic movement disorder, bruxism etc.) Otherwise the patient will be diagnosed with parasomnia NOS in the absence of specific criteria required to make a diagnosis for each type of parasomnia disorder.

  • Review of medical records
  • Interview (involving the patient and their bed partner/s)
  • Obtain details of the sleep-wake pattern
  • Medical history
  • Psychiatric history
  • History of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual)
  • Neurologic examinations
  • Psychiatric interviews and examination
  • Polysomnography (sleep test)

Includes the test of the following parameters: 5

Electrical activity of the brain

Electrical activity of the heart

Movements of the muscles

Eye movements

  • There are no laboratory studies that can be conducted to diagnose any sleep disorders.
  • Imaging studies are of little use to diagnose parasomnia; however it can be useful in the evaluation of the medical illnesses that can trigger parasomnia.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency test

This involves the observation of the time taken to reach various sleep stages to measure the degree of daytime sleepiness and how soon the REM sleep begins. 6

Differential Diagnosis

  • When making a diagnosis of parasomnia NOS it is also important to exclude other specific parasomnia disorders and the presence of other disorders that can manifest or cause similar symptoms of sleep disorders such as: 7

Anxiety disorders

Obstructive sleep apnea

Panic disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder



Dissociative fugue

Could You Have Parasomnia NOS?

Parasomnia NOS Topics

Related Conditions

Nightmare Disorder – Nightmare, Fear, Inability to Sleep, Fear, Anxiety, Moaning, Frightening Dreams
Sleep Terror Disorder – Nightmare, Sleep Disruption, Sleep Awakenings, Sleep Agitation, Fear
Sleepwalking Disorder – Somnambulism, Walking Asleep, Nocturnal Sleep Walking Episode