Ambien-fueled infidelity? Sleepwalking man claims no memory — (City Pages)

SSRI Ed note: Ambien in high dose or with antidepressant leads to sleepwalking, sexual activity, memory loss

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City Pages

Friday, April 24, 2009

Earlier this year, we reported on a Wisconsin man who was found dead and barefoot outside his home after sleepwalking barefoot in -20 degree temps. Police later reported that the man had Ambien in his system, which has long been associated with strange behaviors when the person is medicated and supposed to be sleeping.

But can you blame Ambien for your infidelity too? One man claims he cheated on his wife while on the drug and doesn’t remember a thing.

A man wrote in to “Dear Prudence” to explain his story of sleepwalking sex with another woman.

Dear Prudence: I did something recently that concerns me on many levels. I am under a large amount of stress because I’m in an unhappy marriage (which we’re trying to work out) and because my company laid me off. I am under treatment for depression. A week ago, my doctor doubled the dosage of my antidepressant and, because I’m not sleeping well, he prescribed Ambien. On Saturday morning, I confused the vials and took two Ambien. I told my wife what happened and that I would probably sleep all day and went to bed. At around 10 p.m., my wife commented on how productive I had been: mowing the lawn, cleaning up, grocery shopping. I remembered none of this and said so. She said her only concern was that I left for “errands” and returned two hours later with nothing in hand. I talked to my doctor Monday, and he told me Ambien can cause amnesia and that some people have reported walking, driving, and cooking in their sleep. I know now what filled the missing two hours. This afternoon, I got a call from a woman who called me “lover” and asked when I wanted to come back. She called me her f–k buddy. This is a woman I had talked to only twice before in social situations. I do not even know where she lives; maybe I phoned her for directions. I do find her attractive, but I am stunned that I did something like this. My wife is vindictive, and if I say anything to her, it will end our marriage. I do not want to continue a relationship with the other woman. What should I do? –Scared Sleepless

While it sounds a little ridiculous and a bad excuse for his bad actions, it’s not completely off base. Many people report having wild sex with their partners while on the drug.

And people have been cleared of rape charges when they claimed to be sleepwalking and say they don’t remember the incident. These people don’t even say they were on sleeping pills.

From the Daily Mail:

So-called ‘sexsomnia’, in which sufferers carry out indecent acts in their sleep, is considered to be a form of automatism, a condition which has been used as a defence across criminal law.Last year, RAF mechanic Kenneth Ecott, 26, was acquitted after he pleaded that he was sleepwalking when he had sex with a 15-year-old girl. Bournemouth Crown Court heard he had sexsomnia.

James Bilton, 22, was also cleared by a jury of three counts of rape in 2005. The 22-year-old victim said she woke to find Mr Bilton assaulting her, but he said he could not remember the incident at his flat in York.

Do you believe these people?