Dreams and Dementia


Dream Question

Dreams and Dementia: Do dreams change with relation to the various types of dementias such as frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimers and mild cognitive insufficiency [MCI]?

Answer:

The relationship between dementia and dreaming is not a well studied area, and therefore the differences between dreams in the various types of Dementias is also not well researched at this point.

What I can say for sure is that as we age in general, regardless of illnesses such as dementia, the amount of sleep we get decreases due to invading sleep disorders, so this in turn effects the amount and quality of our dreams.

Sufferers of dementia and associated disorders do continue to dream, and in fact one classic sign of the disorder is the inability to tell the difference between dreams and reality.

You will hear wild stories from people with the disorder, believing themselves that these "dreams" actually happened they will tell you the occurrences as if fact.

The wandering commonly associated with these types of disorders is again related to the inability to tell the difference between dreams and reality.

So one thing that can be said is that dreams do become more vivid during Dementia related illnesses, and more believable and more real to the sufferer.

Lewy Body Dementia for instance is quite common, and one thing it causes in many people is unusually vivid dreams due to disturbances in REM sleep patterns - sufferers act out their dreams and can't tell if they are dreaming or not.

It also seems to cause delusions and hallucinations that may seem very real to the sufferer.


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