Our 11 y/o ADHD/Asperger's son had a dream that he was caught in the ocean, the tide dragged him out to sea but he was able to catch hold of a buoy as a shark approached. He "found a steak knife" in his pocket and began to stab the shark. The shark then turned into our 12 year old son and our 11 year old woke with his brother's screams in the dream still very vivid. He says he is ok about it but I wonder if we should call his psych? He is taking strattera, ritalin la and concerta.


Well, I wouldnt see where it would hurt to call. But it could of also just been a dream as well. It never hurts to let a psych know about stuff like this, especially if that psych is the person treating the child.

Hope everything turns out fine--best of luck!


Just for sake of easiness here is the answer given by Kristina Randle, LCSW on the same question:


I agree it's a good idea to tell your son's psych about the dream. I'd also be interested in knowing what they say, whether they think it's related to the medication.

There are a lot of theories about dreams. While there is the idea that dreams are just random neuron firings or images from the day, many experts view dreams as expressions of our unconscious. For adults, dreamwork typically involves writing your personal associations with each image or action, since each person will have different experiences with the things that they are dreaming. One person finds rabbits cute, another scary. Then, your associations are looked at as a whole, and you see what "clicks." Most dream experts agree that every dream has new information for us that will feel right to us when we hit upon a particular interpretation. That's sure been my experience.

For children, dreams also have meaning that presents in symbols, the question is how illness or medication interacts with dreams. We know so little. Does your son's therapist work with dreams? Even asking your son about his associations might produce insight or resolution. I know that viewing dreams as gifts of information has helped me put intense dreams in perspective, and sometimes that's how our psyche can get us to listen.

Gayle Delaney and Jeremy Taylor have written excellent books on dreams, and Delaney also has a podcast at shrinkrapradio.com describing what I think is an effective approach to dreamwork.

Don't kids often have bad dreams? Monsters under the bed, showing up to school and in some way being embarrassed, drowning, flying, etc.?

I wouldn't put too much meaning on a dream if it was me. But, if the dreams continues or he can't get over the dream, then it couldn't hurt to seek out help.