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Clinical significance of nightmares in patients with depressive disorder

INTRODUCTION: Several studies have suggested a strong association between nightmares and depressive disorder. The aim of this study was to detect the prevalence of nightmares among patients with depressive disorders and to observe its relationship with age, sex, duration of disease, severity of depression and suicidal ideation. METHODS: Sixty patients were interviewed and assessed by means of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (SSI). Nightmares were assessed according to the DSM-IV criteria for Nightmare Disorder. Data analyses were performed by Descriptive analyses and Students t-test with statistical significance at p<0.05. RESULTS: Prevalence of 60% of nightmares was encountered among patients, with predominance among women. Depressed patients with nightmares had significantly (p < 0.05) longer duration of depressive disease, higher mean scores in both scales and in the items related to failure, sleep disturbances and suicidal ideation of the BDI. DISCUSSION: In the study sample, nightmares were associated with the severity of depression and clinically significant suicidal ideation. Thus, nightmares should be considered in the evaluation of patients with depressive disorder.

Nightmares; sleep disorders; depressive disorders; suicidal ideation

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