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Medical Does anyone know

  1. Dec 27, 2009 #1
    does anyone know if there is a disease involving not knowing whether u had a dream about something or that it is real life
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    (Thread moved from Chemistry to Medical Sciences for now)

    Welcome to the PF. Could you please elaborate a bit on your question? Are you asking about psychological disorders that cloud the boundary between dreaming and reality? Do you have any disorders in mind?
  4. Dec 28, 2009 #3
    Hi, I have not heard of any illness relating to this but I personally have had three dreams where I was unable to distinguish whether I was dreaming or not later on. The first occured when I was young and for years I had a single incident that really occured in my life but two stories as to how it happened because I could not remember which was the dream and which was the truth. It is unnerving how permanent the confusion can be. The other two occured much later in my 30's and as an older person I was able to establish that they seemed to occur in the type of deep sleep that is often attributed to alien abductions (minus the alien abduction lol), sleep paralysis.

    In these dreams I feel and think as if I am awake. Quite often I even am aware of the environment I am in.

    The first dream was of my brothers and I playing and my little brother broke his collarbone falling down the stairs. When asked later by a neighbor how my brother broke his collarbone I actually recounted the dream first then I realized that I also thought perhaps he could have done it playing soccer but the dream seemed more real. the 2nd and 3rd dreams also seemed just as real but in these dreams I could not move when I needed to (ie when I started panicking).
    The fact I moved around in the 1st dream does make me consider that it may have been a different dream state.

    I realize this is probably not much help to you but at least you know that you are not the only person who experiences this feeling.
  5. Dec 29, 2009 #4
    Its been a long time ago, but had at least one dream of this sort,. I'll keep the answer short and vague. Deja vu happens to occur when short term memory is transferred to long term memory w/o indexing. Indexing here meaning lots of pointers that normally are transferred with the memory.

    Sleep paralysis occurs exclusively during REM, but may persist for a fraction beyond. It is actually quite rare. Whether it was present during one of three dreams doesn't mean much in terms of believability IMHO.
  6. Dec 31, 2009 #5
    This short term/long term mixup is merely someone's conjecture. In fact, deja vu has long been known by neurologists to be a simple-partial seizure in the hippocampus and surrounding brain areas that govern memory:

    Anatomical origin of déjà vu and vivid ‘memories’ in human temporal lobe epilepsy :

    A "simple-partial" seizure is one that is limited to a small area of one hemisphere of the brain, and one during which there is no impairment of consciousness.

    A "seizure" is when a group of neurons begins to fire by themselves without a proper stimulus. A seizure may or may not involve muscle convulsions depending on whether the seizure activity spreads to the neurons that control the muscles. Most people are only familiar with the Grand Mal seizure: full body convulsions and loss of consciousness, but that is only one type of seizure (the most serious type.) A deja vu, by itself, is a rather small and insignificant type of seizure.

    Oliver Sacks believes deja vu's are also a form of Migraine aura. While it's true that many Migraine sufferers have a lot of deja vu's it is also true that there is a high incidence of co-morbidity of Migraine and seizure disorders. This complicates which disorder to ascribe a symptom to.

    Back to the OP: some partial seizures can cause what J. Hughlings Jackson called a "dreamy state". This might possibly cause a situation where you aren't sure if something's an authentic memory or a dream.
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