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It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Rhythmic Movement Disorder. (Discuss)

Jactatio capitis nocturna (commonly referred to as head-banging) is a parasomnia.

Etiology and Incidence Edit

Jactatio capitis nocturna is characterised by a swinging or banging of the head before or during sleep, or in the phase between these two states.

The condition is a disorder of the first year of childhood and occurs in 6% of children of usually 6-8 months of age. It occurs rarely in children older than 18 months.

Diagnosis Edit

The cause of the condition is unknown. Anecdotal evidence has suggested a familial component to the condition. Evidence suggests the disorder is part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of psychiatric disorders.[1]

Treatment Edit

Etiology is unknown and this disorder usually stops around 4 years of age, however the condition may persist into adulthood.

Most children do not require treatment, however reassurance and, in extreme cases, extra padding of bed is advised and recently behaviour modification regime like selective reinforcement or competing response have been used with success. If the disorder persists beyond the fifth year of age further investigation is needed. Benzodiazepine and tricyclic drugs have also shown beneficial response in minority of children.

External links Edit


  1. [1]

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