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Nightmares linked to suicide attempts

GOTEBORG, Sweden, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Sleep disturbances are common among suicide attempters, and nightmares are associated with suicidality, according to Swedish researchers.

The study, conducted by Nisse Sjostrom and colleagues of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, focused on 165 patients ages 18 to 68 who were admitted to medical units or psychiatric wards at Sahlgrenska after a suicide attempt.

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The researchers found that 89 percent of subjects reported some kind of sleep disturbance. The most common complaint was difficulties initiating sleep -- 73 percent, followed by 69 percent who had difficulties maintaining sleep, 66 percent with nightmares and 58 percent with early-morning awakening. Nightmares were associated with a five-fold increase in risk for high suicidality.

"Our finding of an association between nightmares and suicidality does not imply causality," said Sjostrom.

"However, our findings should inspire clinicians to include questions concerning sleep disturbance and especially nightmares in the clinical assessment of suicidal patients."

The findings are published in the journal Sleep.

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