No evidence for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) use as explaining the relationship between sleep experiences and psychopathological distress.

Daniel Ben Finkenberg, Hadar Shalev, Miriam Vannikov-Lugassi, Nirit Soffer-Dudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

General Sleep Experiences (GSEs) are a group of unusual dream and sleep–wake transition phenomena, representing altered nocturnal consciousness. They have been repeatedly strongly correlated with psychopathological distress, which led them to be considered as arousal permeating the sleep state and a possible clinical marker of such distress. However, this correlation may be partially confounded by medication use among distressed individuals. This study aimed to explore whether treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be related to GSEs, thus posing a partial alternative explanation (i.e., inflating the strength of the association). Outpatients suffering from depression or anxiety and matched nonclinical controls completed questionnaires regarding their distress, medication use, and dreaming patterns. Multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the shared variance between distress, GSEs, and reported SSRI treatment. The clinical group reported significantly more GSEs than the control group, and accordingly, the number of GSEs correlated positively and robustly with levels of distress. SSRI treatment was a nonsignificant predictor in this model. Among the clinical group alone, SSRI-treated patients did not significantly differ in their reported levels of GSEs from patients without any antidepressant treatment, but a Bayesian analysis did not provide clear support for the null hypothesis. This study confirms previous research showing that psychopathology and GSEs are strongly related. However, the SSRI group’s sample size was small and more research is needed to conclude with confidence whether SSRI treatment may be a partial alternative explanation for some of the shared variance of this relationship. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory Research, and Practice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • SSRIs
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • dreaming
  • sleep experiences

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