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Extended Episode With Complete Amnesia--Is This Possible?

My daughter's boyfriend started a new job, third shift. He claims on his second night he got to work and and fell asleep in his truck at 11:00pm and did not wake up till the next morning at 7:00am missing his shift. He called me at 8:30am to tell me, went home at approx. 9:45am, told my daughter. He then started banging his head on the walls, leaving bruises on his head, said some awful things to her, went to bed, got up a couple hours later acting like nothing happened.

He claims he doesn't remember banging his head on the walls but does remember waking up in his truck.

Last year his younger brother had a third shift job and his mother received a call from his employer because they thought he was having a psychotic episode. He appeared to be wide awake but was talking jibberish. When he changed shifts he no longer had the problem. My daughter never found out if they made a diagnosis.

I'm wondering if this is possible or if he just doesn't want to work. I imagine it could be a possibility except it was only the second night on that shift, so tired or not most people would have made it to work. Plus the approx. two hours between waking and then beating himself up. In the two hour interval he talked to me, his employer and my daughter. His employer told him they would call and let him know if he still had a job. He remembered that and waited for the call before going to sleep.

My daughter works a late shift, getting home around 1:00am and said there have been a few times she has talked to him when she got home, he's gotten up to go to bed and doesn't remember any of it in the morning.

I know it would be impossible to make a diagnosis from what I've told you but is any of this possible? I'd like give him the benefit of the doubt but it seems unlikely to me.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.



Kevin: Hey Donna, thanks for sharing your story. There have been cases reported of extraordinarily long sleepwalking episodes that included driving and complete amnesia of the event. Here for one example. Additionally, there's a phenomenon known as retrograde amnesia that happens at various levels to people every night when they fall asleep, but it's typically not something that would cause this type of memory loss. Other sleep disorders, on the other hand, could potentially.

As you guessed, I can't be more specific than that, but hopefully these referrals will help!


(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

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Jun 01, 2011
Psychosis and Sleep Deprivation
by: William Tolan

I have had similar psychotic episodes as a direct result of 2-3 days without sleep. Mentally parts of the brain are going into sleep mode while the person is still awake. This can cause many different effects that would be detrimental to quality of life.

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