Childhood nightmares link to psychotic experiences

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Childhood nightmares link to psychotic experiences

“Regular nightmares in childhood may be an early warning sign of psychotic disorders,” BBC News reports.

While many children have the occasional nightmare, a history of regular nightmares could be the sign of something more serious, the news reports.

The study in question followed more than 6,000 UK children and found that those whose mothers reported them as having regular nightmares over at least one period up to age nine were significantly more likely to report having had a “psychotic experience” at age 12.

While the news reports may be understandably worrying for parents, it is worth bearing in mind that the findings need to be confirmed in further studies.

Also, the findings don’t suggest that having regular nightmares definitely mean your child will have psychotic experiences.

In addition, reporting a single psychotic experience at age 12 would not mean that a child definitely had a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia, or would go on to develop one later on.

The authors note that it is not possible to say whether nightmares are directly causing the increase in risk of psychotic experiences.

This means that it is not clear whether stopping the nightmares (if this were possible) will have an effect on risk of these experiences.

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