Friday, July 31, 2009

New Links Between Lucid Dreaming And Psychosis Could Revive Dream Therapy In Psychiatry

▪ Similarities in brain activity during lucid dreaming and psychosis suggest that dream therapy may be useful in psychiatric treatment
▪ This is strengthened by the potential evolutionary relationship between dreams and psychosis
▪ Lucid dreaming creates distinct patterns of electrical activity in the brain that have similarities to the patterns made by psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia
⁃ offers potential for new therapeutic routes based on how healthy dreaming differs from the unstable states associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders.

"In the field of psychiatry, the interest in patients' dreams has progressively fallen out of both clinical practice and research. But this new work seems to show that we may be able to make comparisons between lucid dreaming and some psychiatric conditions that involve an abnormal dissociation of consciousness while awake, such as psychosis, depersonalisation and pseudoseizures." - Silvio Scarone, from the Università degli Studi di Milano in Milan, Italy.

▪ the previously discredited idea of treating some conditions with dream therapy has attracted interest from clinicians.
⁃ example is people suffering from nightmares can sometimes be treated by training them to dream lucidly so they can consciously wake up.

"neuroscience investigators could explore how to extend their work to psychiatric
conditions, using approaches from sleep research to interpret data from acute
psychotic and dissociated states of the brain-mind."
▪ The existence of such psychotic conditions may be rooted in the evolutionary role of dreams, where dreaming is thought to have emerged to enable early humans to rehearse responses to the many dangerous events they faced in real life.
▪ the idea that paranoid delusions and other hallucinatory phenomena occur when the dissociative dreaming state involving replay of threatening situations is carried through into wakefulness.
▪ "Exposure to real threatening events supposedly activates the dream system, so that it produces simulations that are realistic rehearsals of threatening events in terms of perception and behaviour,"
▪ may also have a role in the learning process
Contents are added while you are awake and integrated with the automatic program of dream consciousness during sleep
⁃ works with observations that daytime learning is consolidated by night-time sleeping

European Science Foundation. "New Links Between Lucid Dreaming And Psychosis Could Revive Dream Therapy In Psychiatry." ScienceDaily 29 July 2009. 31 July 2009

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