Nightmare Disorder

(Also Known As: Nightmares, Dream Anxiety Disorder, Repeated Nightmares, Insomnia, Sleep Terror Disorder, Sleepwalking Disorder, Chronic Nightmare Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Nightmare Disorder?

Nightmare Disorder is a sleep disorder which is a condition characterized by experiencing frequent nightmares with repeated awakenings from sleep. The person with a Nightmare Disorder often finds their dreams as vivid, which can pose threats to survival, self esteem, and security.1 The nightmares that one experiences usually occurs within the second half of the REM stage of the sleeping process.

Nightmares are often typically experienced by anyone, but those with Nightmare Disorder experience more frequent nightmares than what is normal. Nightmare Disorder is also called dream anxiety disorder or repeated nightmares. In a person with Nightmare Disorder the occurrence of nightmares often takes place with the same themes, and the frequent awakening caused by nightmares can become very distressing.

Nightmare Disorder is also associated with Parasomnia Disorder, involving the occurrence of undesirable events during sleep, such as disturbing visual dream sequences that wake a person from their sleep.2 The nightmares one with Nightmare Disorder experiences are so frequent that they often cause a fear of going to sleep. This often leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia and other emotional conditions of remorse, anger, rage, embarrassment and disgust. The nightmare usually has a longer duration and as the dream climaxes the threat intensifies and awakens the person. It is usually hard for the person to go back to sleep again.

Nightmare Disorder is more often experienced in children than in adults and teenagers. Although as stated earlier, nightmares are a normal occurrence in children that typically occurs once or twice a week, but Nightmare Disorder develops in children due to psychological stress and is considerably longer and more frequent. And the frequency of nightmares experienced in children with Nightmare Disorder gradually declines as they grow older.

Nightmare Disorder in children is usually not associated with any psychiatric illness. But about half of adults with Nightmare Disorder are diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses. Women are twice more likely to suffer from nightmare disorders as men.

Could You Have Nightmare Disorder?

Nightmare Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Dyssomnia – Difficulty to Go to Sleep, Difficulty to Remain Sleeping, Sleep Disorder, Primary Sleep Disorder
Hypersomnia – Recurrent Episodes of Daytime Sleepiness, Sleep Disorder, Frequent Daytime Napping, Anxiety, Disturbed Sleep
Narcolepsy – Dyssomnia, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Daytime Drowsiness, Insomnia, Drooping Eyelids, Lack of Sleep, Sleep Awakening
Parasomnia NOS – Sleep Disorder, Abnormal Movements, Sleep Awakening, Abnormal Sleep Pattern, Dreaming, Disturbed Emotion and Behavior
Sleep Terror Disorder – Sleep Terror Disorder, Extreme Terror, Difficulty to Wake Up, Emotional Fear, Parasomnia
Sleepwalking Disorder – Somnambulism, Parasomnia, Engaging in Activities While in a State of Sleep