Nightmare Disorder

Nightmare disorder, also known as dream anxiety disorder, is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent nightmares. The nightmares, which often portray the individual in a situation that jeopardizes their life or personal safety, usually occur during the REM stages of sleep.


Cluster Number:
Wiki Number: PW136
Diagnosis: Nightmare Disorder
US Patients: 4% of adults; 1% of children
World Patients:
Sex Ratio: M;W2
Age Onset:
Brain Area:
Symptoms: frequent nightmares involving personal safety, usually occurring during REM stages of sleep; remembers every detail of the dream
Progression: does not wake up screaming, but reduce daytime efficiencies from being “tired”; fear and physical aggression are the most common
Causes: PTSD, extreme stress, death of a loved one; 30% have other psychiatric illnesses
Medications: several antipsychotic medicines have reduced nightmares; hypnosis and relaxation may also help
Therapies: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) have helped portions of those with PTSD or other threatening experiences.


The world-wide medical research
reports chosen for each diagnosis 

Clicking each title opens the
PubMed article’s summary-abstract.

  • A Narrative Review of the Association between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
    by Catherine A McCall on January 21, 2022

    Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often co-morbid with implications for disease severity and treatment outcomes. OSA prevalence is higher in PTSD sufferers than in the general population, with a likely bidirectional effect of the two illnesses. There is substantial evidence to support the role that disturbed sleep may play in the pathophysiology of PTSD. Sleep disturbance associated with OSA may interfere with normal rapid eye movement (REM) functioning...

  • Pregnancy-related claustrophobia
    by Nessa Keane on January 14, 2022

    A 35-year-old primigravida presented with significant anxiety symptoms at 26 weeks' gestation. Symptoms were preceded by a nightmare about her upcoming labour. She developed repetitive intrusive thoughts of being trapped emotionally and physically in her pregnancy. Her symptoms were suggestive of new-onset claustrophobia associated with pregnancy, which has not been previously reported on. Her symptoms ameliorated with a combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy and pharmacotherapy...

  • Depression and sleep disorders among AIDS orphans in an HIV/AIDS high-epidemic area in China
    by Shiying Li on January 13, 2022

    CONCLUSIONS: AIDS orphans of Yi ethnic minority reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and comorbidity of depression and sleep disorders than their non-orphan counterparts. These symptoms were exacerbated by ostracization and self-rated poor physical health but lowered by peer support.

  • The Personal and Professional Impact of Patients' Complaints on Doctors-A Qualitative Approach
    by Bianca Hanganu on January 11, 2022

    Background: Complaints regarding medical practice represent a harsh reality of the current world. Patients have the right to receive explanations and compensation when they are injured during the medical act, but the increased potential for exposure to complaints determines personal and professional consequences for the doctors, with significant impact on their health and practice. Thus, the aim of our research was to analyze in depth the impact of complaints on the doctors involved. Materials...