Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nightmares & Other Parasomnias

Two studies being presented later this morning as posters focus on parasomnias – undesirable physical events or experiences that occur during entry into sleep, within sleep or during arousals from sleep.

One study (#0600) reports that the prevalence of parasomnia symptoms in patients with obstructive sleep apnea is higher than the prevalence rates of individual parasomnias in the general population. Of 537 adult participants with OSA, 51 (9.5 percent) had at least one type of parasomnia complaint; in the general population, the reported prevalence of common parasomnias is 2 percent to 5 percent. The most commonly reported complaints were sleep paralysis, sleep-related hallucinations and symptoms suggestive of REM sleep behavior disorder.

Another study (#1120) found that self-reported nightmares by adult patients seeking emergency psychiatric evaluation uniquely predicted elevated suicidal symptoms. Results indicate that after controlling for depression, the severity of self-reported disturbing dreams and nightmares independently predicted higher scores for suicide ideation as a non-significant trend; insomnia severity scores were no longer associated with suicide ideation after controlling for depression. The results suggest that nightmares may be an acute warning sign and risk factor for suicide.

You can download the SLEEP 2009 abstract supplement as an 11 MB file in PDF format.

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