Dreams that work: The relation of dream incorporation to adaptation to stressful events.

Dreaming (Impact Factor: 0.84). 02/1991; 1(1):3-9. DOI: 10.1037/h0094312

ABSTRACT Conducted sleep studies of 49 Ss going through divorce, 23 women and 26 men, at the time of the initial break-up and 1 yr later. 31 of these were diagnosed as depressed on a combined criterion of meeting the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) and a Beck Depression score above 14, and 18 met neither criterion. The depressed and nondepressed Ss did not differ in Dream-like Fantasy, but did in Affect Strength and type. Depressed Ss who incorporated the ex-spouse into their dreams at the time of the break-up were significantly less depressed and significantly better adjusted to their new life at the follow-up point than Ss who did not. These dreams were rated as having stronger affect. Persons who are depressed during a stressful time in their lives, who dream with strong feelings, and who incorporate the stressor directly into their dreams appear to "work through" their depression more successfully than those who do not. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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    ABSTRACT: Perhaps because of their highly emotive nature and often memorable visual imagery, dreams have long been linked to our innermost emotional functioning, ideas that go back to the earliest use of dreams (as in the Bible) as well as Freud 1,2 and Jung's 3 original psychoanalytic conceptuali-zations of the human mind. More recently, work by such investigators as Maquet and colleagues 4,5 and Hobson and colleagues 6 have demonstrated an isomorphism between the neurophysiologic components of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (muscle atonia, heightened limbic activation, particularly in the amygdala, the threat detection control center of the brain, deactivation of the prefrontal dorsolateral cortex, and the reciprocal activation of the amenergic and cholinergic systems) with the phenomenal qualities of dreaming (paralysis, heightened expressed emotion, the absence of metacognition and state-dependent amnesia for the dream on awak-ening). Thus, the neural qualities of REM sleep seem to be particularly suited for the activation of emotionally charged memorial components that may offer clues into a possible function. Previous work by Kramer 7 and Cartwright 8,9 has long assigned a mood-regulatory function to dreaming. A review of this work is beyond the scope of the present paper, but Kramer and Cart-wright have proposed that dreaming serves a type of emotional thermostat that serves to regulate inner well-being. In a series of studies, Kramer (reviewed in Ref. 7) demonstrated clear markers of emotion shift from evening to morning that was mediated by dream variables. For example, Kramer demonstrated that the absence of dream characters in the last REM dream of the night was the strongest predictor of a downshift of mood from evening to morning. This finding is consistent with the observation that morning mood is often the worst time for individuals with depression and the findings that depressed indi-viduals have more total REM time and significantly shorter REM latency than individuals without depression or the same individuals after remission of symptoms. 10 Closely related but independent work by Cart-wright and colleagues 8,9,11 with samples of women undergoing midlife divorce and marital separation with and without accompanying depression has shown that the level of intensity of dysphoric mood in their dreams as well as dreaming of the ex-spouse reliably predicted waking depression but that the presence of these variables also predicted enhanced recovery on follow up 1 year after divorce, suggesting that the dreams were integral in processing these negative emotions. Another area of promising work along these lines pertains to the small literature on recurrent dreaming, loosely defined as dreams with a high degree of replicative content. Some studies in this area 12–14 suggest that the active presence of The first articulation of the AMPHAC/AND model of disturbed dreaming was presented by Levin & Nielsen (2007) in Psychological Bulletin and Nielsen & Levin (2007) in Sleep Medicine Reviews.
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep related symptoms of depression include sleep fragmentation, early morning awakening, decreased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency, increased REM density, and more negative dream content. Most tricyclic antidepressants (ADs) increase total sleep time and decrease wake time after sleep onset, while many selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have an opposite effect. However, almost all ADs prolong REM sleep latency and reduce the amount of REM sleep. Case reports and research data indicate a strong effect of ADs on dream recall and dream content. We performed a systematic review (1950 to August 2010) about ADs impact on dreaming in depressive patients and healthy volunteers. Twenty-one clinical studies and 25 case reports were eligible for review and document a clear AD effect on dreaming. The major finding, both in depressed patients and in healthy volunteers, is a decrease of dream recall frequency (DRF) under ADs. This is a rather consistent effect in tricyclic ADs and phenelzine, less consistently documented also for SSRIs/serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Tricyclic ADs induce more positive dream emotions. Withdrawal from tricyclic ADs and from the monoamine oxidase inhibitors phenelzine and tranylcypromine may cause nightmares. Intake and even more withdrawal of SSRIs/SNRIs seem to intensify dreaming, which may be experienced in different ways; a potential to cause nightmares has to be taken into account. Though there are clear-cut pharmacological effects of ADs on DRF and dream content, publications have been surprisingly scarce during the past 60 years. There is evidence of a gap in neuropsychopharmacological research. AD effects on dreams should be recognized and may be used in treatment.
    Sleep Medicine Reviews 07/2012; · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    Dataset: 2005-08-124