June 25, 2024 at 12:39 pm

Study Says Having Nightmares And Hallucinations Could Be Associated With An Autoimmune Disorder Like Lupus

by Trisha Leigh

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No one likes to have bad dreams, no matter when they occur. They can be disconcerting and disrupt your sleep, among other things.

This study says they could also indicate a predisposal to being diagnosed with lupus.

Researchers concluded that troubling dreams and even daytime hallucinations could warn an autoimmune disorder – specifically lupus – could be on the horizon.

The scientists involved believe that knowing this could help doctors and patience better manage the disease.

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Lupus is associated with joint pain, rashes, and fatigue and currently, there is no cure.

The study included 676 people with lupus, 400 clinicians, and 69 people who are living with a systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease.

Three in five patients described disrupted dream sleep in the lead-up to their diagnosis, and one in four reported hallucinations and vivid distressing nightmares during the same period.

The nightmares often involved being attacked, trapped, crushed, or falling. Researchers prefer to refer to hallucinations as “daymares,’ in order to avoid the associated stigma.

For at least one patient, it really resonated.

“When you said that word daymare and a soon as you said that it just made sense, it’s like not necessarily scary, it’s just like you’ve had a dream and yet you’re sitting awake in the garden. I see different things, it’s like I come out of it and it’s like when you wake up and you can’t remember your dream and you’re there but you’re not there…it’s like feeling really disoriented, the nearest thing I can think of is that I feel like I’m Alice in Wonderland.”

The clinicians involved agreed that these complaints could be useful as an “early warning system” for oncoming flares. This could make patients better informed and enable them to better manage the flares.

Source: Shutterstock

Professor Guy Leschziner, one of the study’s authors, issued a statement.

“We have long been aware that alterations in dreaming may signify changes in physical, neurological and mental health, and can sometimes be early indicators of disease.”

They’re excited about the prospects.

“However, this is the first evidence that nightmares may also help us monitor such a serious autoimmune condition like lupus, and is an important prompt to patients and clinicians alike that sleep symptoms may tell us about impending relapse.”

For anyone trying to manage an autoimmune disease like lupus, warning of flare-ups would be key.

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