New research finds that sleep problems — in the form of nightmares — are often associated with suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Although additional factors influence suicidal thoughts, investigators believe the relationship between nightmares and suicidal behaviors represent feelings of defeat, entrapment, and hopelessness.
In the study, researchers discovered suicidal ideations were present in 62 percent of participants who experienced nightmares and only 20 percent of those without nightmares. Multiple analyses suggest that nightmares may act as a stressor in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).