Nightmares – Causes

Nightmares will be part of the large palette of sleeping disorders that will include sleep walking, sleep apnea and insomnia. Such sleep disorders or better known in the medical field as parasomnias will happen in almost 40% of children that will have ages between 2 and 18 years old.

A nightmare will be described as a recurrent episode that will lead to awakening from sleep with a recall of very intense and disturbing dreaming state that will most commonly involve anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, disgust and many other dysphoric emotions.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV), the nightmare disorder will be a repeated awakening with a through recollection of a quite terrifying dream that will usually involve the person which was dreaming it in a harmful position.

Nightmares will be as a symptom from posttraumatic stress disorder. People that suffered in terrible accidents, lost a loved one or partaken a very stressful situation will most likely suffer from nightmares. They will put the patient in that specific situation over and over again, with a slight distinction from time to time in details, depending on the person and the level of trauma that the specific event had.

Although nightmares will happen during childhood and will be very terrifying events in a child’s life leading up to a grave concern from parents, medical studies show that they are quite normal due to the development of child and the personality that he or she may have.

If a child will have sporadic nightmares will not mean that he or she will suffer from a psychological disorder and will be catalogued as normal. The removal of such nightmares will happen at the very same time when the child will confront his or her fear like for instance fear of darkness or monsters and the parent showing that there is nothing to be afraid.

People that will suffer from nightmare will also suffer from an impair functioning during the day due to the lack of sleep, in many cases the person being afraid to go back to sleep and having that specific dream again. This in time will lead to a person that will be in need for restorative sleep and also could be linked to other physical diseases that could evolve due to the continuous exhaustion that the patient will suffer from.

Most commonly, nightmares are linked with very stressful situations that the person had partaken. They are one of the seventeen possible symptoms for posttraumatic stress disorder. A patient that suffers from nightmares not necessarily suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder but PTSD will have as symptom nightmares that will put that person in a continuum stressful situation that was previously experienced.

Studies have shown that almost 70% of posttraumatic stress disorder patients suffer from nightmares, showing that women are more prone to them in comparison with men, having as a 5:2 ratio.

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