The many parasomnias now officially described often occur in young patients. They are at risk of being confused with each other if their characteristic features are not well known and if they are not carefully assessed, mainly clinically. Accurate diagnosis is essential for choice of treatment, which varies considerably for different parasomnias. These points are illustrated mainly by reference to arousal disorders (including sleepwalking and sleep terrors) and the other parasomnias, such as nightmares and sleep-related epilepsies, from which they must be distinguished.
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Competing interests: None.
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