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Psychiatry Res. 2009 May 30;167(3):279-86. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.03.002. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

The effect of trimipramine on dream recall and dream emotions in depressive outpatients.

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Sleep laboratory, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.


Trimipramine is a sedating tricyclic antidepressant which is not only effective in the treatment of depression but also in primary insomnia. In contrast to most other antidepressants, trimipramine does not affect rapid eye movement sleep. In a large sample of depressive outpatients (N = 3926), the effect of trimipramine on dream recall and dream emotions was studied. The effect of trimipramine on dream recall was small and might be explained by the reduction of negatively toned dreams. The 4-week treatment with trimipramine yielded a considerable shift in dream emotions towards the positive end of the scale, which is paralleled by the decrease of symptom severity. The present findings support the continuity hypothesis of dreaming by demonstrating a close link between waking-life symptomatolgy and negative dream emotions. Future studies should analyze dream content in order to support the hypothesis that improvement in day-time symptoms is reflected in patients' dreams.

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