You wake up terrified. Your heart is pounding, you're breathing is shaky, and you feel distraught. Most of us have had this experience - waking up from a nightmare, but what happens when it is a regular occurrence?
Nightmare Disorder is another sleeping disorder. While nightmares affect 10-50% of children aged 3-5 years old and 3% of adults report having nightmares frequently, the prevalence of Nightmare Disorder in the United States is not currently known.
Individuals who experience Nightmare Disorder awaken from vivid, frightening dreams during naps or at night. They are able to recall the details of their frightening dreams and quickly realize their surroundings upon awakening. Frightening dreams include those that threaten one's security, safety, life, and/or self-esteem.
Nightmare Disorder is diagnosed when nightmares affect an individuals social, occupational, academic, or other important parts of one's life. Before Nightmare Disorder is made as a diagnosis, however, mental health professionals rule out other mental illnesses, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, general medical conditions, and any substance or medication that could be causing the nightmares.