Nightmare Disorder Research

(Also Known As: Nightmares Research, Dream Anxiety Disorder Research, Repeated Nightmares Research, Insomnia Research, Sleep Terror Disorder Research, Sleepwalking Disorder Research, Chronic Nightmare Disorder Research)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

Nightmare Disorder Related Research


The Nightmare Disorders Research study conducted by Nisse Sjostrom, RN and colleagues from Sahlgrenska University Hospital revealed the association between Nightmare Disorders with suicide.7 Some forms of sleep disturbances and nightmares are common among 89% of suicidal individuals who were under study. The common complaints involving sleeping disorders consist of 75% of difficulty in initiating sleep, 69% of difficulty in maintaining sleep, 66% of nightmares and 58% of early morning awakenings. The study further strengthens that the associated nightmares can actually increase the risk for suicidal tendencies by five fold. The researchers further added that they highly encourage the inclusion of sleep disturbance assessment when trying to assess suicidal patients.

The occurrence of nightmares can likely increase suicide attempts by five fold.8 A study conducted by Shalgrenska University of Gothenburg, Sweden revealed that patients complaining of nightmares after a week of an attempted suicide become three times more likely to attempt suicide again. Such occurred regardless of the psychiatric condition of the patient, whether they are diagnosed with depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or other forms of psychiatric illnesses. These series of studies on the association of suicide attempts with nightmares should alert clinicians of the significance of the study when assessing suicide risks.


A study conducted by Christer Hublin of the University of Helsinki, with his colleagues, studied the incidence rate of nightmares in identical twins. The outcome of their study showed that identical twins are more likely to both have nightmares than the non-identical twins. If one of the identical twins usually experiences more frequent nightmares, 3 times or more in a week, there is a 45% possibility that the other twin will also share the same trait. In non-identical twins the chance is only 20%.

Genetics primarily plays a major role in the susceptibility of twins and nightmares.9 The study further associates the link of Nightmare Disorders to mental illness. There is about 15% of mental history found from individuals with a Nightmare Disorder. Most of them have been hospitalized at least once throughout their lifetime due to mental disorder. However their findings did not confirm whether the association of mental illness with Nightmare Disorder is co-occurring or causative.


According to the clinical studies conducted by the Department of Psychiatry of Yuzuncu Yil University Research Hospital there is a prevalent incidence of Nightmare Disorder to be associated with dissociative disorders. The DSM-IV criteria was used in diagnosing individuals with Nightmare Disorder and the Beck Depression Inventory, the Dissociative Experiences Scale and a semi-structured interview for childhood traumatic events were administered to the subjects. The result of the study showed that there is a 57% prevalent rate of Nightmare Disorder to occur in the dissociative disorder.

Patients with both Nightmare Disorder and dissociative disorder showed a higher rate of self manipulative behavior, co-morbidity with a borderline personality disorder, and a history of suicide attempts in the previous years than those with dissociative disorder without the Nightmare Disorder.10 When treating dissociative disorders it should be noted to also incorporate dream or nightmare therapies in the treatment.

Could You Have Nightmare Disorder?

Nightmare Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Dyssomnia – Difficulty to Go to Sleep, Difficulty to Remain Sleeping, Sleep Disorder, Primary Sleep Disorder
Hypersomnia – Recurrent Episodes of Daytime Sleepiness, Sleep Disorder, Frequent Daytime Napping, Anxiety, Disturbed Sleep
Narcolepsy – Dyssomnia, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Daytime Drowsiness, Insomnia, Drooping Eyelids, Lack of Sleep, Sleep Awakening
Parasomnia NOS – Sleep Disorder, Abnormal Movements, Sleep Awakening, Abnormal Sleep Pattern, Dreaming, Disturbed Emotion and Behavior
Sleep Terror Disorder – Sleep Terror Disorder, Extreme Terror, Difficulty to Wake Up, Emotional Fear, Parasomnia
Sleepwalking Disorder – Somnambulism, Parasomnia, Engaging in Activities While in a State of Sleep