Several attempts at depicting the type of human dream based on human characteristics have been made, specifically for various psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Although a lot has not been studied and found, it has been observed that the pattern observed in the dreams is somewhat close to their reasoning in everyday life.
1. What Causes Dreams? – How Dreams Reveal Brain Disorders?
There is no proven connection on either side, so we cannot say that dreams are caused due to mental illness or a mental illness is caused due to certain dreams.
But we can sometimes see that in certain patients the characteristics of their dreams will actually give away some hints.
For example, it has been studied and observed that the number of nightmares a person with stress or anxiety disorder gets is usually more than any other stress-free or normal person. But this being said, it is also clear that dreams can not actually be a diagnosis tool for your illnesses.
2. Dreams and Nightmares
Well, if the nightmares are recurrent, then it has been established that such people are at risk of committing suicide, although there are more contributing factors like depression and negative feelings.
They usually tend to get such dreams because of the negative feelings and the depressed state of mind in which they live during the daytime.
If these patients are given antidepressants, then they actually experience a change in mood and have fewer nightmares. All this has been proven scientifically in the research done by Dieter Riemann and his colleagues.
3. Recurrent Nightmares
Is there a concrete answer to the question of how we should react to recurrent nightmares? Well no, in spite of a lot of psychoanalysis, this cannot be clarified or understood any better and there are various ways and suggestions that people have; let’s look at some of these.
It has been observed that in some cases the dreams have been the same for many years, and they will be a very small particular incident but probably of some importance that you do not realize now because it happened a long while ago.
In such cases, the patient can undergo a thorough psychoanalysis, try sleep apnea scanning, and get a proper medical diagnosis.
4. Brain’s Emotional Digestion
Other cases can be a typical issue of the brain and body not being able to digest the negative emotions and stress that have occurred in your life.
So, if we are in similar situations again after that stressful time; our brain gets triggered and we tend to see more nightmares or difficult dreams due to our psychological functioning.
There is no logic or scientific backing behind the belief that if everything goes good and nice during your day you will not get nightmares, because nightmares are inevitable.
Even if you do get a nightmare that is disturbing enough you will not be able to forget it easily and it will eventually affect your morning or later part of the day.
5. More about Nightmares: How Dreams Reveal Brain Disorders?
Nightmares or unusual happenings like people screaming during their sleep or sleepwalking are all very different and can not really be linked with each other. The only conclusion that we can safely make is that there definitely is something in your head that is somewhere guiding or triggering these happenings.
Are negative dreams really useful to us? Well, this again is debatable. We have negative dreams that can have so high emotional intensity that they will have the power to actually wake us up from our sleep. Although it might also be because you just didn’t sleep well.
The extreme emotions are an example of the nightmares that we get after some traumatic event like torture or war, which are very extreme in nature. The reason behind this is that the brain can not really handle these emotions as they are very difficult to manage.
6. Functions of Sleeping
One of the functions of sleeping is that it will help you break down or degrade your total emotions of the day, it figures out what has to be done with memories and what emotions have to be eradicated. It’s like a movie, where all the events are put together but maybe in a less intense format.
Even the very intense and tough events of the day are replayed minus the emotional aspect of them.
There are three organs involved in the whole emotional degradation and event memorization process of the brain which are hippocampus, amygdala, and neocortex.
7. Dreams and Diseases
People with a sleep disorder or RBD, experience movement during their sleep. Having agitated dreams is a symptom of RBD, where the patients will actually mimic their experiences of the dream.
People suffering from RBD have a high chance of developing neurodegenerative pathology, usually Parkinson’s disease. It is believed that if the brain can not inhibit the movements during sleep, the damage has already started, as the area of the brain involved in stopping the movements is being affected.
One thing to note here is that sometimes people might confuse sleepwalking and RBD. So, the difference here is that sleepwalking or somnambulism can start anywhere at a young age but RBD patients are usually more than 50 years of age. Somnambulism does not signify any diseases, unlike RBD.
8. Final Thoughts
It is a very tough call to definitively say yes or no to the question if dreams reveal brain disorders or not. There have been several studies and researches done and some diseases which are psychiatric or neurological can have some traces in these dreams but nothing is concrete, so we can not stick to one side.