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Hobey13

Vivid Dreams

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I have read that that there is an association of parkinsons disease with vivid dreams. What are the differences between normal dreaming and the vivid dreaming in parkinsons?

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Parkinson patients can have more vivid and alive dreams and often act out their dreams-- a phenomenon called REM sleep behavioral disorder.

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A vivid dream is a subjective term used to denote that the "dreamer" feels it is alive and real....regular people without PD can also vividly dream. Night terrors are different and mainly seen in children. A sleep study is usually not required unless difficult to treat with standard approaches.

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I have these vivid dreams.

 

I often punch, kick, or scream in my sleep while having these dreams. I've injured myself a couple of times and have put holes into walls with my fists. The dream usually involves being chased by a monster or the police. I wind up fighting back in these dreams and that seems to correspond to my physical actions.

 

Its pretty rare that I am able to catch myself doing this. Its usually friends or family that are visiting and staying over that mention my behavior in bed. According to my neurologist, this was one of the first signs of my Parkinson's (These vivid dreams started 5-7 years ago).

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This is common (vivid dreams) with Parkinson's disease and is known as REM sleep behavior disorder. It is typically well treated by a benzodiazepine such as clonazepam, and in severe cases we will pursue a sleep study.

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My Doctor asked me to try taking Melatonin (an OTC supplement) to see if it would reduce my acting out my dreams. It's been very helpful lessening my symptoms.

 

Dave

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Thanks Dave for the comment. So far I haven't been successful for treating sleep issues in PD with melatonin. Glad to hear you are doing well.

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I also take Trazodone at bed to help with sleep and to calm my nerves in my back. I have severe nerve damage to my L5 and S1 nerve roots on the left and right. Maybe its a combination of the two that helps. Trazodone alone was not helping with me acting out my dreams.

 

Dave

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I started having excessively vivid dreams almost immediately after starting levodopa treatment. I can still remember the dreams I had the first week...very distressing. This side effect of levodopa got better with continued treatment but never went away completely. I am now 5 months into levodopa treatment and i still see nightmares/vivid dreams, almost every night.

 

Dr Okun, what is the significance of levodopa-induced vivid dreaming in patients with PD? Are these patients more prone to developing hallucinations and/or psychosis?

 

Thank you in advance for your time

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Definitely having PD itself id associated with vivid dreams. Adding agonists or Levodopa can bring them out. IF something like clonazepam and a sleep study does not result in resolution then seeing a sleep doc and considering a drug like seroquel at bedtime can be helpful. Very vivid dreaming can be a prelude to mild hallucinations.

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