Frequent childhood nightmares may indicate an increased risk of psychotic traits

Frequent childhood nightmares may indicate an increased risk of psychotic traits

February 28, 2014
University of Warwick


Children who suffer from frequent nightmares or bouts of night terrors may be at an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to new research. shows that children reporting frequent nightmares before the age of 12 were three and a half times more likely to suffer from psychotic experiences in early adolescence. Similarly, experiencing night terrors doubled the risk of such problems, including hallucinations, interrupted thoughts or delusions. Younger children, between two and nine years old, who had persistent nightmares reported by parents had up to one and a half times increased risk of developing psychotic experiences.


I suffered from night terrors and nightmares - vivid dreams throughout childhood. It all makes sense now - interesting SzAdmin, thanks

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Hi Wave,
I’m a reporter currently writing about this study in depth for a national magazine. Would you be interested in sharing your experience with me?

I had bad dreams as a kiddo. Dx with Paranoid Schizophrenia at age 12.

Yep, I had nightmares quite often as a kid. I couldnt sleep alone until I was 7, then couldnt sleep without lights on until I was 13.

I dont mean to sound high and mighty, but I had pretty much all of the childhood indicators (nightmares, molested, near-death experience, bullied, socially outcast) and I am now completely recovered on medications, I am on a full ride to college and have a 3.96 and am an amateur powerlifter, just right below the class 1 rank. If u wanna ask me stuff too, I would be glad to answer. I am in my fourth semester majoring in psychology, concentrating in behavioral neuroscience.

I basically went from being a schizophrenic alcoholic at 19 to being a type-A person with a social life, outstanding grades and a very fit body today, nearly 21. Im on spring break, studying all day with my friends then hanging out with them all night, so I have time to share whatever.

I am a psychiatrist’s wet dream, to be honest- I came in bonkers and a year later came back fully recovered and living well. I never thought I would be as healthy as I am now.

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Hi Mortimer - Thanks for your response. Your story sounds very interesting. Email me at and we can set up a time to talk.