Sleep disorder may cause suicidal tendencies
Jan 7, 2007 - 12:27:12 PM

London, Jan 7 - People with sleep disorders and nightmares may be prone to developing suicidal tendencies, says a new study.

A nightmare is a distressing dream, which usually forces at least partial awakening. The dreamer facing the disorder may feel any number of disturbing emotions like anger, guilt, sadness or depression, but the most common feelings are fear and anxiety.

Nightmares are very common, with 50-85 percent of adults reporting having a nightmare at least on one occasion. They tend to become less frequent with age, reported health portal Health Central.

Nisse Sjostrom and colleagues from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, studied 165 people who had been admitted to the hospital after a suicide attempt.

The study, published in the Jan 1 issue of journal 'Sleep', found that 89 percent of the participants reported some type of sleep disturbance, with the most common disturbances being difficulties staying asleep, nightmares, and early morning awakening.

Having nightmares was associated with a five-fold increase in risk for high suicidal tendency, the researchers said.

People who experience nightmares should see a sleep specialist who can diagnose the problem and make referrals to counsellors or psychologists when necessary, they added.

'Our finding of an association between nightmares and suicidality does not imply causality,' said Sjostrom.

'However, our findings should inspire clinicians to include questions concerning sleep disturbance, especially nightmares, in the clinical assessment of suicidal patients.'

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