Nightmares, Hallucinations Linked to Onset of Autoimmune Conditions 


United States: A research lead by team which includes some academics of the University of Cambridge and King’s College London suggests that a rise in nightmares and hallucinations or daymares we can say and these things may lead to the development of the autoimmune disorders like lupus. 

The researchers contend that there should be a broader understanding of how these kinds of neurological and mental health symptoms can serve as an early warning system for an individual who is about to enter a “flare,” or a phase in which their illness becomes worse. 

Nightmares and Hallucinations Precede Lupus 

In a study that was just published in eClinical Medicine, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 50 clinicians and 69 patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic disorders, which includes lupus. They also polled 676 lupus patients and 400 clinicians. The autoimmune inflammatory condition lupus is well-known for its effects on the brain among other organs. 

Additionally, the patients’ timing of 29 neurological and mental health symptoms (such as depression, hallucinations, and loss of balance) was questioned by the researchers during the study. During interviews, patients were also asked to enumerate the usual sequence in which they experienced symptoms during a flare-up of their illness. 

One of the most frequently reported symptoms was disturbed dream sleep, which affected three out of five patients, with a third stating that this symptom started more than a year prior to the onset of lupus. 

Vivid Nightmares Predict Autoimmune Flares 

Less than one in four patients experienced hallucinations; however, in 85% of cases, the symptom did not manifest until approximately the time the disease started or later. Upon conducting patient interviews, the researchers discovered that prior to experiencing hallucinations, 3 out of 5 lupus patients and 1 out of 3 patients with other rheumatology-related illnesses had increasingly interrupted dreaming sleep, which typically consisted of vivid and frightening nightmares. These nightmares, which frequently featured being assaulted, confined, crushed, or falling, were intense and upsetting. 

One Irish patient spoke of their nightmares: “awful, like murders, like people’s skin falling off, awful…I believe it’s similar to when I’m stressed out, which could be a sign of bad lupus. Therefore, I believe that the more stress my body is under, the more vivid and horrible my dreams will be.” 

Inquiring About Sleep Disturbances 

When researchers referred to hallucinations as “daymares,” patients frequently had a “lightbulb” moment and thought that the term was less stigmatizing and frightening. 

“When you said the word ‘daymare,’ it just made sense, it’s not scary at all, it’s just like you’ve had a dream and you’re sitting awake in the garden,” an English patient remarked. I’m seeing different things; it feels like I’m waking up from a dream and can’t recall what happened in it, but you’re still there. I have a very disoriented sense, and the closest analogy I can think of is that I feel like Alice in Wonderland.” 

Many specialists stated they had never linked dreams and hallucinations to disease flare-ups, and patients who were having hallucinations were reluctant to talk about their experiences. The majority agreed that discussing nightmares and hallucinations with patients in the future would be beneficial, and that identifying these early signs of a flare could serve as a “early warning system” that would allow doctors to better treat their patients and possibly cut down on clinic visits by preventing flares before they became severe. 

Highlighting the Significance of Bad Dreams 

A new book about finding medicines has come out, and it has lots of cool stuff from the past year. A smart doctor named Professor David D’Cruz found that people with lupus, a kind of sickness, often have bad dreams. He thinks these bad dreams might show when the sickness is getting worse. So, he wants doctors to ask about bad dreams to help catch the sickness early.  

Some people were wrongly told they had a mental sickness before they found out they actually had lupus. One person said they were first told they had a problem with their feelings, but later they found out they had lupus. Another person talked about a friend who got really sick and had to stay in the hospital because of bad dreams, but doctors didn’t think to check for lupus until much later. A doctor named Professor Guy Leschziner thinks bad dreams could be a sign that lupus is getting worse, and he wants both patients and doctors to know that bad dreams might show when the sickness is coming back. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here