Researchers say that dreams are just hallucinations. However, no one knows the exact purpose of dreaming. Unfortunately, some people can’t get restful sleep because of their nightmares.

We all have disturbing dreams from time to time. But some kids and adults have to deal with nightmare disorder. Here is what you need to know about it:

Symptoms of nightmare disorder

It has been proven that people are more likely to have nightmares two-four hours after falling asleep. You have a nightmare disorder in case you wake up several times per night and have difficulty falling asleep afterward. You might feel either anxious or angry after having disturbing dreams.

People who suffer from a nightmare disorder notice a negative impact on their health and general well-being. The thing is that sleep deprivation leads to depression and heart diseases.

In case you can’t rest and function normally during the day, it’s important to seek professional help. To diagnose your disorder, a doctor will have to check your medical history. Also, you might be referred to the mental health professional.

According to studies, nightmares can be triggered by chronic stress, traumatic events, substance abuse, and even some medications such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications.

Getting treatment on time is necessary in order to prevent complications such as excessive daytime sleeplessness and even suicidal thoughts.

Use cannabis

As you can understand, cannabis is used not only for recreational purposes, but it also has a lot of health benefits.

More and more people suffering from troubled sleep use cannabis as a supplement to fight with their nightmares. According to Cannabis Growing Canada experts, medical marijuana helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It also has calming properties that promote better sleep.

Other than that, medical marijuana can help patients with mental illness since it reduces blood pressure and improves mood in general.

If you decide to use cannabis as a replacement for nightmare-causing medications such as blood pressure medicine or antidepressants, make sure to talk to your doctor first.

Consult a psychologist

In case you experienced trauma that causes nightmares, consider consulting a psychologist. It’s important to understand that this kind of treatment usually takes months. On the other hand, you will have a chance to discuss your problems with a professional and get practical tips. Therapy will help you to clear your mind, learn how to manage stress, phobias, and anxiety.

You should feel comfortable with your psychologist. If you feel like you can’t be totally honest with your therapist, consider meeting other professionals until you find the right one for yourself.

Change your medications

As stated above, some medications have various side-effects, including nightmares. Here is a list of medications that can be the cause of your troubled sleep:

Ambien ( zolpidem sulfate) – medications prescribed for people who struggle with insomnia. It has been proven that big doses of this medication can lead to extremely vivid dreams and even sleepwalking. In case you take this medication, make sure to ask your doctor to find an alternative for it.

Statins

Some common blood pressure statins such as Zocor can also cause terrifying dreams in some people. There are a lot of statins available on the market. So, your doctor should not have any problem with finding another type of statin for you.

SSRIs

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are considered the most prescribed medications in the United States. It helps to treat depression, anxiety, and OCD behaviors. In case your current SSRIs cause strange dreams and make you feel tired during the day, consider some alternatives such as Zocor or Prozac. In any case, you should discuss this possibility with your doctor first.

The bottom line

If you can’t get restful sleep because of terrifying nightmares that feel real, make sure to see a specialist and treat your disorder as soon as possible. If you don’t take measures on time, lack of proper sleep might affect your hormone production, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cause depression.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "How To Treat Nightmare Disorder," in Medicalopedia, April 2, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8607/how-to-treat-nightmare-disorder/].