Nightmares trigger greater risk of more suicide bids

February 4th, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 4 (IANS) People experiencing nightmares following a suicide bid are five times more likely to make similar attempts again, compared with their normal counterparts, according to a study. The study included 165 patients aged 18-69 years, who were being treated at psychiatric departments following a suicide attempt in Sweden.

Psychiatric interviews and self-assessments were carried out as part of the study during the week following the suicide attempt, and then two months later. Ninety-eight people attended the follow-up interview.

The study shows that those patients who complained of nightmares during the week following the suicide attempt were three times more likely to attempt to take their own life again, regardless of gender or psychiatric diagnosis, such as depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

“Those who were still suffering from nightmares after two months faced an even greater risk. These people were five times more likely to attempt suicide a second time,” said author of the thesis, Nils Sjöström, a registered nurse.

Her thesis was submitted at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, said its release.

Other sleeping difficulties do not increase risk of repeat suicide attempts. It is normal for patients who have attempted suicide to suffer from sleeping difficulties. Some 89 percent of the patients examined reported some kind of sleep disturbance.

The most common problems were difficulty initiating sleep, followed by difficulty maintaining sleep, nightmares and early morning awakening.

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