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Sleep Paralysis and Psychopathology 

Sleep Paralysis and Psychopathology
Chapter:
Sleep Paralysis and Psychopathology
Author(s):

Brian A. Sharpless

and Karl Doghramji

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199313808.003.0009
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date: 18 September 2019

Although previous chapters have argued for sleep paralysis as a relatively unexplored manifestation of psychopathology in its own right, this chapter summarizes and evaluates the growing body of literature associating sleep paralysis with other, more conventional forms of psychopathology. Following the presentation of research associating sleep paralysis with higher levels of psychiatric comorbidity in general, the relatively extensive literature linking sleep paralysis with traumatic stress is reviewed. Relevant roles of dissociation, hypnotizability, hyperarousal, hypervigilance, peritraumatic tonic immobility, and sleep disruption are discussed. Next, sleep paralysis’s potential associations with specific anxiety disorders (e.g., panic disorder) and the more general constructs of anxiety sensitivity and death distress are detailed. Limited data on unipolar and bipolar mood disorders and psychotic disorders are also briefly discussed.

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