Night­mares are unpleas­ant, dis­turb­ing dreams in which there are details or a sit­u­a­tion that cause fear. In this they dif­fer from night ter­ror — a pan­ic state in which a per­son sud­den­ly wakes up from a feel­ing of fear and anx­i­ety.

Night­mares are a symp­tom of many psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­or­ders and even phys­i­cal ill­ness­es, when the anx­i­ety state is asso­ci­at­ed with organ­ic brain dam­age.

Causes of nightmares

The caus­es of the afore­men­tioned dis­or­der are dif­fer­ent. It can be both strong (even pos­i­tive) expe­ri­ences, a deep emo­tion­al shake-up, and hid­den psy­cho­log­i­cal ill­ness­es, stress­es, psy­choses, inter­per­son­al and intra-fam­i­ly con­flicts, com­plex­es, pho­bias.

Sep­a­rate­ly, there are dis­eases of the brain, which can also pro­voke unrea­son­able, at first glance, night­mares. These are tumors, injuries, infec­tions, oxy­gen star­va­tion. Unpleas­ant dreams can also be pro­voked by tak­ing cer­tain drugs. In any case, doc­tors advise to deal with the caus­es of this dis­or­der togeth­er with a spe­cial­ist, since a latent dis­ease with­out treat­ment can go into a more severe phase.

Treatment for nightmares

If night­mares occur reg­u­lar­ly, the patient should con­sult a doc­tor. First of all, a spe­cial­ist exam­ines the brain for tumors and dam­age, then he will try to iden­ti­fy the cause of night­mares using spe­cial tech­niques and tests. Treat­ment depends on the iden­ti­fied cause. Pos­si­ble surgery, med­ical con­sul­ta­tions, tak­ing seda­tives.

Prevention of nightmares

Com­pre­hen­sive pre­ven­tion of this dis­or­der is reduced to the pre­ven­tion of stress and strong emo­tion­al out­bursts. You should not watch TV, action movies, thrillers at night, it is advis­able for chil­dren to turn off car­toons and com­put­er games 2–3 hours before bed­time.

Before going to bed, it is advis­able to take a half-hour walk, ven­ti­late the room well. This will enrich the blood with oxy­gen, which has a pos­i­tive effect on brain func­tion and sleep qual­i­ty.

It is also nec­es­sary to estab­lish a sleep sched­ule — get up and go to bed at the same time, sleep at least 8 hours a day. In this case, the room should be dark­ened, and the bed should be com­fort­able. If you can­not get rid of obses­sive thoughts about work or fam­i­ly respon­si­bil­i­ties, you can use med­i­ta­tion and relax­ation tech­niques.

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