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Symptoms and Treatments of Nightmare Disorder

Almost 90% of Malaysians have some level of insomnia and have one or more kinds of sleeping problems.

Nightmare disorder is a parasomnia, a category of sleep disorders, that can interfere with the quality of your life. Nightmare disorders are characterized by recurrent episodes of extremely dysphoric dreams. They usually involve threats to physical integrity or security and may involve anxiety and insomnia.

Nightmare Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of nightmare disorder include screams and increased heart rate. People may also have trouble falling asleep and recalling the content of their dreams. As a result, they may have difficulty concentrating on tasks the next day.

Most adults and children experience nightmares from time to time. Some studies have shown that females are more likely to have nightmares than males.

Because of this, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has commissioned a task force to review the literature on nightmare disorder. The task force reviewed the medical and psychiatric literature and developed position statements on the treatment of nightmare disorder. This information can be found on the AASM website.

Nightmare Disorder Treatments

Many people with nightmare disorder are afraid to discuss their symptoms with their doctors. To help overcome this fear, the doctor may ask questions about your sleep, your nightmares, and your bedtime routine during your doctor appointment. Depending on the cause of the nightmares, your doctor may suggest counseling, therapy, medication, or stress-reduction techniques.

Nightmares may be idiopathic or may be related to a number of other conditions. Before treatment begins, your doctor may recommend a medical exam or other tests to identify underlying conditions. Whether the symptoms are idiopathic or associated with a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, it is important to address these conditions first.

There are various types of treatment for nightmare disorder. Your doctor will likely suggest therapy, counseling as well as medications. A few of these options include Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, which is a psychotherapy technique that helps patients reimagine and rehearse their nightmares. The goal is to eliminate negative emotions associated with the dream and to replace them with a positive ending. This therapy has been effective in various patient populations.

Patients who have experienced a nightmare that is accompanied by other mental health issues should be referred to a psychiatrist or other qualified mental health professional.

If you are experiencing frequent nightmares, you should consult and seek treatment from your doctor immediately.


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