Nightmares are dreams that cause intense fear. These dreams are often complex and fairly long. During the dream, the sleeper usually encounters or experiences a threat to their life or safety. Nightmares are also reported that do not involve physical danger.During the course of a nightmare the sleeper may moan, talk, or move slightly, although these signs do not always appear. The person wakes from the nightmare with a profound sense of fear. Waking is complete, and usually accompanied by increased heart rate, sweating, and other symptoms of anxiety or fear. Once fully awake, the person usually has a good recall of the dream and what was so frightening about it.
Diagnosis and medication can only be given to patients that report the recurring nightmares to a psychiatrist or other physician. Medications like prazosin are sometimes used to treat nightmares in people with PTSD. Therapy usually helps to deal with the frightening themes of the nightmares and alleviate the recurrence of the dreams. The persistent nightmares will usually improve as the patient gets older. Treatments are generally very successful.Pediatricians estimate that 20-30% of children have difficulties with sleep that are serious enough to disturb their families. Although sleepwalking and night terror disorder occur more frequently in children than in adults.