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An emotional link between nightmares and suicide

Filed in
  • PTSD
  • Suicide
  • nightmares

Amy Pyle  |  Mar 28, 2016
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Sleep apnea causes brain damage

A new study shows that negative emotions may be one link between nightmares and suicidal thoughts.

The study involved 91 people who had been through a traumatic event. They also had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts were much more common among those who had nightmares in the past month. Further analyses suggest that you may feel defeated, trapped or hopeless after having nightmares. These feelings may promote suicidal behaviors.


The authors noted that other studies show that nightmares may cause stress in people with PTSD. More connections between nightmares and suicide still need to be explored.

The CDC reports that suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. More than 41,000 people die from suicide each year.

Never ignore thoughts about suicide. Talk to your doctor about your suicidal thoughts. For urgent help call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat.

Learn more about the study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine - Nightmares and Suicide in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The Mediating Role of Defeat, Entrapment, and Hopelessness

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