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The European Journal of Psychiatry

versión impresa ISSN 0213-6163


OKOROME MUME, Celestine. Nightmare in schizophrenic and depressed patients. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2009, vol.23, n.3, pp.177-183. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: Nightmare is a common sleep disorder. While a sleep disorder such as insomnia can readily be associated with psychiatric disorders, the same cannot be said of nightmare. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence rate of nightmare in a sample of psychiatric patients, and to compare this rate with the rate obtained in age- and sex- matched healthy control subjects in order to determine if there is a significant difference in the rates of nightmare in the different groups. Methods: Ninety - four randomly selected psychiatric patients made up of 54 schizophrenic patients and 40 depressed patients were recruited into the study. One hundred and twenty - three age- and sex- matched randomly selected control subjects were also recruited into the study. A questionnaire determining the one year prevalence of nightmare was administered to all the subjects. Each of them was required to indicate whether he or she had experienced nightmare in the previous one year and if so to indicate the number of episodes experienced during the said period. Results: The results showed prevalent rates of nightmare of 4.9%, 16.7% and 17.5% respectively for the healthy control subjects, schizophrenic patients and depressed patients. There was an overall prevalence rate of 17% among the psychiatric patients (schizophrenic patients and depressed patients) as against 4.9% in the healthy control subjects. Among those who experienced nightmare, the mean values for the number of episodes within the previous one year were, respectively 18 (sd = 6.6) for healthy control subjects (n = 6), 42.7 (sd = 6.3) for schizophrenic patients (n = 9) and 44.6 (sd = 5.9) for depressed patients (n = 7). Conclusions: The findings in this study provide support for a significant association between nightmare and schizophrenia as well as nightmare and depressive illness. In effect, there is a significant association between nightmare and psychopathology.

Palabras clave : Nightmare; Psychiatric disorders; Psychopathology; Sleep disorders.

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