Comparison of symptomatic and idiopathic nightmares in patients with different mental disorders
The present study aims to test whether the degree of replicativity to which nightmares resemble potentially traumatic events varies with regard to different disorders. A further purpose was to investigate whether the subjectively experienced distress differs from one form of nightmare to another. The sample consisted of 127 service members who were treated in the Centre for Mental Health at the German Armed Forces Hospital Hamburg from March 2014 to June 2015 after being diagnosed as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive disorder or adjustment disorder. Whether the dominant nightmare type of patients reflected content that was replicative of a potentially traumatic event, non-replicative, or a mixed form of both was determined. Findings indicated that patients with PTSD suffered significantly more frequently from replicative nightmares than patients with depressive or adjustment disorders. Moreover, the subjectively experienced distress was most distinctive in patients who suffer mainly from replicative as compared to non-replicative or mixed nightmares.