Providing Health and Well Being Through Proper Sleep Will Change Your Life
What You Need to Know about Nightmare Disorder

Everyone has nightmares from time to time. These disturbing dreams can cause anxiety and fear that forces you awake. They usually occur more often in children, but you can get them at any age. Nightmares can be terrifying and it’s important to know when your nightmares are normal and when they may be something¬† more. Getting help when you need it is important.

Nightmares may begin between the ages of three and six, but will often decrease after age 10. While the exact cause of nightmares is unknown, there are a variety of things that may trigger them. These things include: stress or anxiety, trauma, sleep deprivation, medications, substance abuse, other disorders or scary books and movies. While nightmares are common, nightmare disorder is not. There are certain things that characterize a nightmare. Nightmare disorder involves some additional symptoms that you should look.

Characteristics of Nightmares

You might experience the following:

Feels Real

One of the most upsetting things about nightmares is when they feel real. They may progress as the dream goes on.

Has disturbing themes.

A nightmare is usually related to something that scares you. This could be threats to your safety or survival.

Wakes you and affects your mood.

Nightmares can wake you up due to the nature of the dream. You could experience a pounding heart and sweating. It can leave you feeling anxious, scared, disgusted or sad when you wake up. Nightmares can also prevent you from being able to fall back to sleep.

When it is Considered a Disorder
Nightmares can be terrifying in themselves, but are considered a disorder, if:
They are frequent.

If you experience nightmares often, it could be the sign of nightmare disorder.

They affect your body and moods during the day.

Nightmare disorder not only affects the nighttime hours, but can have severe effects during the daytime as well. It could lead to distress or fear during the day. You could be afraid to go to sleep because you fear having another nightmare. It can also mess with your ability to concentrate and function. You may be fatigued during the day as well.

Treatment of Nightmares

Depending on the cause of nightmare disorder, treatment options may include:


If an underlying medical condition is causing the nightmares, that condition will be treated.

Stress and anxiety

If the nightmares are caused by a mental health condition, a doctor may suggest techniques to help reduce your stress or therapy to help address these issues.

Imagery rehearsal therapy

If the nightmares are due to PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, imagery rehearsal therapy can help. This tactic involves changing the ending to your remembered nightmare while you are awake. This makes the dream less threatening.

While nightmares are a normal part of life, nightmare disorder can be detrimental to your health. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, contact us today to learn how we can help you.