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Sleep. 2014 Feb 1;37(2):419-22. doi: 10.5665/sleep.3428.

Delusional confusion of dreaming and reality in narcolepsy.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA ; Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA ; Department of Psychology, Furman University, Greenville, SC.
2
Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA ; Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA.
4
Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands ; Sleep Wake Center SEIN, Heemstede, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA ; Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

We investigated a generally unappreciated feature of the sleep disorder narcolepsy, in which patients mistake the memory of a dream for a real experience and form sustained delusions about significant events.

DESIGN:

We interviewed patients with narcolepsy and healthy controls to establish the prevalence of this complaint and identify its predictors.

SETTING:

Academic medical centers in Boston, Massachusetts and Leiden, The Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS:

Patients (n = 46) with a diagnosis of narcolepsy with cataplexy, and age-matched healthy healthy controls (n = 41).

INTERVENTIONS:

N/A.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

"Dream delusions" were surprisingly common in narcolepsy and were often striking in their severity. As opposed to fleeting hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations of the sleep/wake transition, dream delusions were false memories induced by the experience of a vivid dream, which led to false beliefs that could persist for days or weeks.

CONCLUSIONS:

The delusional confusion of dreamed events with reality is a prominent feature of narcolepsy, and suggests the possibility of source memory deficits in this disorder that have not yet been fully characterized.

KEYWORDS:

Dreaming; memory; narcolepsy

PMID:
24501437
PMCID:
PMC3900627
DOI:
10.5665/sleep.3428
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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