Nightmares – Treatment

Nightmares will occur from time to time in many people, especially children, being a normal part of their development and fear of the unknown but they become a worrisome factor when they become violent, repetitive and will disable that person to lead a normal life.

If a person that suffers from nightmares will become impaired due to the lack of restorative sleep it is recommended to consult a doctor. Nightmares are one of the main sleeping disorders next to insomnia, sleep apnea and sleepwalking.

They are very complex dreams that will cause high levels of terror or anxiety.

Most commonly, the content of a nightmare will be closely linked to an imminent harm that a person which is dreaming will be put in for example like injuries, threats or death. Nightmares are closely linked to posttraumatic stress disorder and will have a tendency to repeat the same stressful situation that the patient suffered in the past.

For example, the survivors from the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, have experienced quite terrifying dreams that included terrorism, airplane crashes, fires, collapsing buildings or people that were jumping out of them. A rape survivor will relive within his or her dream the same situation and will experience the inability of their actions all over again.

These are manifestations of the subconscious closely linked to the stressful situation that happened and the coping mechanism that the mind will have. Nightmares can happen several times in one night but they will happen only during the rapid eye movement stage of the sleep.

A normal sleep pattern will have two distinct stages: the non rapid eye movement stage and the rapid movement stage. During the latter one, a dreaming state will occur and the brain’s activity will be similar to the normal state of wakefulness of a person. As a result, nightmares are more prone to happen during this time of the night. When a person will suffer from nightmares, she or he will be awakened by them in state of alert, fear and anxiety, not wanting to go back to sleep again in the fear of reliving that specific situation.

Although the rapid eye movement stage will be only 25% of the normal sleeping pattern, it will get more intense in the second half of the night thus the dreams will get more vivid and at times more violent depending on the situation.

There are several effective treatments for nightmares that will include a change in thoughts and behaviors leaving this to the psychological field and some psychopharmacological treatments, being taken care by the medical field. There are different approaches to this type of disorder being recommended that the patient should go and talk to a specialist, maybe in time overcoming a fear or taking the medical approach in some strong sedatives that will, in time make the horrifying dreams go away.

The most recommended options is to have a combination of the two due to the fact that psychology has made a lot of successful findings in this field and it is linked to some stress disorders that a person will treat only by searching deep within and acknowledging the problem.

dreams, linked, movement, nightmares, normal, situation, sleep, sleep disorders, stage, time