Scary, disturbing, and uncomfortable happen while you’re supposed to be resting and rejuvenating your mind and body—these are the characteristics of nightmares in PTSD. Fatigue pulls on the eyelids and bed comfort awaits a tired head. But for people with PTSD, a good night’s sleep is a pipe dream.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a stress disorder that affects people who have had a traumatic life experience. Accidents, natural disasters, physical or sexual abuse, etc. are some of the causes of PTSD. The condition affects every aspect of an individual’s life at different levels. Frequent nightmares are an important symptom of the condition. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, 96% of individuals deal with nightmares.
Although these nightmares in PTSD occur in a large number of people and regularly disrupt sleep, they can be controlled. With appropriate help, support, and treatment, individuals can successfully deal with it. On that note, here are some ways to manage nightmares in PTSD.
Methods for managing PTSD nightmares
1. Treatment options
Trauma-focused counseling and therapy sessions are an appropriate step in dealing with nightmares in PTSD. Different types of treatment options are effective for such symptoms. They include:
- Desensitization and exposure therapies: This type of therapy uses controlled exposure to traumatic life experiences to reduce associated emotional responses.
- Image rehearsal treatment: This template involves writing a nightmare and turning it into story form. The individual is then asked to rewrite the story in such a way that the crisis or dilemma is resolved. The new version of the story can be read during bedtime.
- lucid dreaming This treatment approach involves sensitizing the person to gain awareness while they are in a dream. Once an individual understands that he is in a dream, he is able to resolve or refine the events within his dreams.
Read more: Best online therapy platforms
2. Flavor control
Essential oils and aromatherapy are one of the best options for relieving anxiety and stress. According to a study conducted in 2019 by Laura ShaferPleasant scents while sleeping may help people avoid nightmares. However, familiar smells may backfire and cause nightmares. This is why you can start using different types of scents during the day. Then, when you find one that helps you calm down, you can also use it while you sleep.
3. Suitable temperatures
Extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold) can lead to a disturbed night’s sleep. Moreover, when you are uncomfortable in your sleep, there are higher chances of frequent waking up during the night. This is why adjusting the room temperature before bed can be helpful in improving the quality of your sleep and avoiding nightmares.
4. Video games
Study published direct science Engaging military veterans showed that people with PTSD who frequently played video games were less threatening or were less affected by nightmares. While it may seem like playing a game that is loud and violent might be bad for someone with PTSD, feeling empowered and in control during the game is actually beneficial. However, this research is basic, and one should consult a professional before trying the method.
Read more: 13 online mental health games and activities.
Nightmares in PTSD are widespread in people dealing with the condition. These emotionally and psychologically disruptive dreams may be your brain’s way of dealing with traumatic situations. Despite their severity, these nightmares can be controlled with treatment options, including specific therapies and lifestyle changes.
Psychotherapy is another effective way to deal with PTSD symptoms. to know more Psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorderclick here.
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