Friday, August 19, 2016
NIGHTMARES: ANXIETY, PTSD, AND NIGHT TERRORS
Researchers have concluded most nightmares are caused by anxiety. Rarely are they a literal interpretation of what has been bothering us. In England, studies found women have more nightmares than men. This may correlate the the findings that women also have more issues with anxiety. Worries and anxieties are often reflected in our dreams. Women usually tell of more emotionally intense nightmares than men. The nightmares usually center on fear, loss and confusion. Also, the theory that is getting more support is the idea that dreams are the way the brain is trying to solve problems or dealing with intense emotions. A nightmare may be our brain's way of preparing us for a fearful situation or trying to help us be less afraid. It takes a lot of practice but you can control the direction of your dreams. Unfortunately, people usually wake up when they realize they are dreaming. There is increasing research now in using a technique to help people with PTSD who frequently suffer from nightmares. The belief is by teaching them to control the nightmares, they begin to work through their trauma. For children, there is something scarier than a nightmare. It is night terrors. With these, a child will scream usually with their eyes wide open. The child can not wake up, as with a nightmare they can. Also, with a nightmare they remember the episode. With night terrors there is no recollection of the event. It seems children have night terrors because they have trouble transitioning from a deep sleep to REM sleep.