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.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. From childhood through early adolescence, between 5 and 50% of children have nightmares with the prevalence of nightmare “problems” generally falling into the 20–40% range. In comparison, up to 85% of adults report at least one nightmare within the past year, 8–29% report monthly nightmares, and 2–6% report weekly nightmares.A great majority of the research focuses on management of individual patients and case reports.