An increased risk of suicide was observed in adolescents with nightmare distress

The nightmare experience is a common phenomenon, particularly among the adolescent general population. Many consequences have been linked to nightmares and can have a severe impact on them Psychological healthRather, it increases the risk of suicide.

The experience has been described as disturbing, frightening, or disturbing dreams that can be very irritating and lead to interrupted sleep. As nightmares become more prevalent, so does their vulnerability Insomniadaytime sleepiness, anxiety and depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), behavioral problems, and impaired psychosocial function.

While previous evidence has shown that adults with major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorders, or schizophrenia experience this state of disturbing dreams more frequently than the general population, evidence is lacking when it comes to adolescents with MDD.

Insomnia, nightmares and depression in adolescents

The investigators included Shuang Jiang Zhou. Jing-Xu Chen, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital, Peking University HuiLongGuan College of Clinical Medicine, aims to correct the gap in the literature regarding the prevalence of nightmares among adolescents with major depressive disorder. The team conducted a large-scale cross-sectional investigation in outpatient centers of 4 large psychiatric hospitals in China from January to October 2021.

Participating individuals ranged in age from 12 to 18 years and were diagnosed with major depressive disorder according to DSM-IV and who had received no treatment at the time of their depressive episode. Those with significant physical illness, other mental illness, drug use or dependence, pregnant women, or who had undergone ECT in that past month were excluded. The healthy control group was matched by sex and age with no personal or family history of mental illness.

Scales of analysis consisted of insomnia, daytime sleepiness, frequency of nightmares, nightmare distress, severity of depression, severity of anxiety, and risk of suicide.

The relationship between nightmares and suicide risk

The results revealed that the depressed group had a higher incidence of insomnia and suicide risk, as well as an increased frequency of nightmares compared to the control group.

Among the depressed teens, 67.5% had experienced nightmares within the previous month, compared to 28.7% in the control group. Weekly the average for the control group was 6%, while the rate among depressed teens was 28.7%. Both sets of relationships were considered statistically significant.

A statistically significant relationship between suicide risk and frequency of nightmares was identified. Suicide risk was present in 38.1% of the depressed group, and among this population, 51.6% experienced recurrent nightmares which were at a significantly higher rate than those without suicide risk.

The investigators also noted that the risk of suicide was higher among adolescents in a recurrent depressive episode than among those experiencing a first-time episode. Acute nightmarish distress in those at suicide risk (54.7%) was significant compared to those without suicide risk (24.3%).

“In conclusion, the current study, which included a large number of patients, provides evidence that nightmares occur most frequently among adolescents with major depressive disorder,” the researchers wrote.

Furthermore, the results of this study show that nightmare distress is independently associated with an increased risk of suicide. These findings may have important implications for further research on the mechanisms of nocturnal suicide and for identifying individuals at risk of suicide by asking about nightmare distress. Since nightmares can be modulated, While the clinical efficacy of psychotherapy is well documented, intervention programs aimed at addressing the distress associated with nightmares may play an important role in preventing suicide among adolescents with major depressive disorder.”

the study “Nightmare distress as a risk factor for suicide among adolescents with major depressive disorderPosted in The nature and science of sleep.