Nightmare disorder, which is also called dream anxiety disorder, is characterized by the occurrence of repeated dreams during which the sleeper feels threatened and frightened. The sense of fear causes the person to awake.Nightmares are only considered a disorder if disturbing dreams cause you distress or keep you from getting enough sleep. Nightmares can be triggered by many factors, including: Stress, Truama, Sleep Deprivation, The sleep disturbance causes significant distress or problems with functioning during the day, Your dream wakes you, You can think clearly upon awakening and can recall details of your dream.
Treatment modalities for nightmare disorder include medications, most prominently prazosin, and several behavioral therapies, of which the nightmare-focused cognitive behavioral therapy variants, especially image rehearsal therapy, are effective.In a study of the dreams of four- to 12-year-old children published in the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology in 2000, researchers found that 67.7 percent of four to six year olds, 95.7 percent of seven to nine year olds, and 76.3 percent of ten to 12-year olds reported having had a nightmare experience. Nightmares are common throughout childhood, changing somewhat in content and frequency as children move through different developmental phases and acquire more skills to cope with the changing realities and stresses in their lives.