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Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives

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Humans throughout history have described a peculiar state between wakefulness and sleep during which they are consciously aware of their surroundings, but physically paralyzed. Sleep paralysis is also commonly accompanied by high levels of fear, feelings of suffocation, and hallucinations (i.e., waking dreams). Early interpretations of this event were that it was an actual Humans throughout history have described a peculiar state between wakefulness and sleep during which they are consciously aware of their surroundings, but physically paralyzed. Sleep paralysis is also commonly accompanied by high levels of fear, feelings of suffocation, and hallucinations (i.e., waking dreams). Early interpretations of this event were that it was an actual attack by malevolent and supernatural entities such as demons, ghosts, or witches. Some of these beliefs persist to the present day in the form of nocturnal visitations by extraterrestrials and shadow people. Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives offers the first comprehensive examination of sleep paralysis from scientific and cultural perspectives. Drs. Brian Sharpless and Karl Doghramji synthesize the many literatures while providing practical guidance for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep paralysis. Included are medication suggestions and a new psychotherapy manual for mental health professionals. The result is a volume that illuminates the cultural, medical, and intellectual importance of this understudied phenomenon.


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Humans throughout history have described a peculiar state between wakefulness and sleep during which they are consciously aware of their surroundings, but physically paralyzed. Sleep paralysis is also commonly accompanied by high levels of fear, feelings of suffocation, and hallucinations (i.e., waking dreams). Early interpretations of this event were that it was an actual Humans throughout history have described a peculiar state between wakefulness and sleep during which they are consciously aware of their surroundings, but physically paralyzed. Sleep paralysis is also commonly accompanied by high levels of fear, feelings of suffocation, and hallucinations (i.e., waking dreams). Early interpretations of this event were that it was an actual attack by malevolent and supernatural entities such as demons, ghosts, or witches. Some of these beliefs persist to the present day in the form of nocturnal visitations by extraterrestrials and shadow people. Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives offers the first comprehensive examination of sleep paralysis from scientific and cultural perspectives. Drs. Brian Sharpless and Karl Doghramji synthesize the many literatures while providing practical guidance for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep paralysis. Included are medication suggestions and a new psychotherapy manual for mental health professionals. The result is a volume that illuminates the cultural, medical, and intellectual importance of this understudied phenomenon.

31 review for Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eric Wojciechowski

    I was looking for more answers as to why an intruder/presence is nearly always part of these experiences but the data appears to be lacking as a description of different types of perceived entities is examined and they could arise out of the threat-activated vigilance system, but why and where in the brain seems to require more study. In fact, the conclusions in this volume make it clear the phenomenon of sleep paralysis and treatments remain elusive.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jukka Häkkinen

    Todella kattava katsaus unihalvauksesta, jossa käydään kaikki mahdolliset lähteet lävitse. Kirja ei ole popularisoiva vaan muistuttaa enemmän tieteellistä katsausartikkelia. Rasittavin piirre on hiukan sekava rakenne, tätä olisi kannattanut organisoida ja tiivistää ennen julkaisua. Esimerkiksi joitakin asioita käsitellään eri luvuissa, vaikka ne olisi kannattanut niputtaa yhteen. Jotkut vähemmän kiinnostavat yksityiskohdat saavat paljon tilaa ja jotkut kiinnostavat asiat käsitellään lyhyesti. Es Todella kattava katsaus unihalvauksesta, jossa käydään kaikki mahdolliset lähteet lävitse. Kirja ei ole popularisoiva vaan muistuttaa enemmän tieteellistä katsausartikkelia. Rasittavin piirre on hiukan sekava rakenne, tätä olisi kannattanut organisoida ja tiivistää ennen julkaisua. Esimerkiksi joitakin asioita käsitellään eri luvuissa, vaikka ne olisi kannattanut niputtaa yhteen. Jotkut vähemmän kiinnostavat yksityiskohdat saavat paljon tilaa ja jotkut kiinnostavat asiat käsitellään lyhyesti. Esimerkiksi unihalvauksen taustalla olevia neuraalisia mekanisemeja avataan vain muutamia sivuja, mikä on näin laajassa kirjassa vähän.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K. Counihan

    Good book for someone really into Sleep Paralysis Loaded with information on clinical trails and studies compiled over the last 1500 years. The sleep business is booming and in the last 10- 15 years new treatments and new devices are available to the patients. I would recommend only to people working in the Sleep field or to patients looking for more information. This is a serious but informative book about the subject matter.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pat Kolesar

    Doesn't make my experience any less terrifying but at least I now understand what is happening and know I'm not crazy. Doesn't make my experience any less terrifying but at least I now understand what is happening and know I'm not crazy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Taufik SLR

  6. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  9. 5 out of 5

    Efi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mpho3

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alberto Cueto

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karina

  13. 5 out of 5

    Giulia Cobain

  14. 4 out of 5

    ArcAngela0519

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

  16. 4 out of 5

    Frrobins

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vladislav

  18. 5 out of 5

    Renee

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deb Holland

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marco

  21. 4 out of 5

    viv

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Doyle

  23. 5 out of 5

    Starlet Kimberlin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ainul Hidayati

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Aedyn River

  26. 4 out of 5

    ALEJANDRO

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tarren

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex Perez

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hailey

  31. 4 out of 5

    Omar

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