The dream, anno 2007
background The dream has always been of interest to psychiatrists. It can assist with the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.
aim To find out whether the dream is regarded as meaningful in modern psychiatry and to discover how dreams can be used by psychiatrists in clinical practice.
method Initially, psychoanalytic monographs on the subject of dreams were read thoroughly. This is followed by a literature search in PubMed and pepweb on the basis of the search terms 'dream', 'dreams' and 'dreaming'.
results There has been considerable interest in dreams in the psychiatric literature published in the last few decades. Neuroscientific data seem to confirm Freud's wish-fulfilling theory. The dream plays a role in the consolidation of memory. It seems reasonable that psychopathological diagnosis should take the content of dreams into account.
conclusion Not only is the dream a fascinating subject for research, it is also useful in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of psychiatric disorders.