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Effects of Nightmares in Health

Introduction

Nightmares are comprehensible delusion sequences, which appear factual and become progressively more distressing as they develop. Emotions usually linked with nightmares are nervousness, distress, or terror. Other associated sensations comprise of irritation, temper, humiliation, and disgust. Nightmares have a habit of centering on impending physical threat or any upsetting themes. The conditions are common occurrences affecting the general population. The conditions are very prevalent among patients. The occurrences trigger sleeplessness, aggravate psychiatric anguish, and compromise on the quality of life (Nakajima & Takahashi, 2014). There are many pharmacologic and psychological methodologies, which can be used to manage nightmares. Despite the development of the interventions, there is the need for in-depth analysis to understand the effects of nightmares in health. The article below seeks to identify the effects of nightmares on patients and the implications of nightmares in health.

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How nightmares influences adults and children’s health

It should be noted that nightmares affect both adults and children. Many children experience the above condition more regularly. Nightmares usually begin when the children are two years old. They are at their peak when the youngsters are between three and six years old. As such, the occurrences normally occur in sleep series from 4a.m. to 6 a.m (Sateia, 2009). However, the experience may vary from one sibling to another. Nightmares deprive children off their sleep. The vividness of nightmares’ experiences in the affected children’s mind may make it hard for them to return to normal sleep after the occurrences. In this regard, the affected children may exhibit conditions related to mild sleep deficiency. The symptoms include reduced mental precision, difficulties in concentration, undue daytime drowsiness, irritability, or hopelessness. The condition with children is more intricate as they might be very terrified. Consequently, parents should be easy-going and sociable with them.

Just like children, adult patients also experience nightmares. They occur because of side effects related to treatments or drug abuse. Withdrawals from substance abuse, liquor, and medication can also cause nightmares. Effects of nightmares among the adults are worse compared to children. As such, they cause sleep deprivation conditions. Some researchers have linked the occurrences with suicide (Robert & Zadra, 2014). Sleep deficiency that is triggered by nightmares has may trigger a numerous health conditions like depression, obesity, and coronary diseases.

The impact of nightmares on people physical and emotional condition

As indicated above, nightmares have adverse impacts on individuals’ physical and emotional states. The leading impact of nightmare is sleep deficiency. Sleep is necessary for people to live a healthy and useful existence. Therefore, people who regular experience nightmare may develop sleeping problems and complications. Because of this, they may suffer from sleep-related disorders. Other impacts of nightmares include drowsiness during the day, weak immunity system, loss of concentration, depression, and poor memory (Agnihotri, Paul, & Singh, 2007). The above symptoms are caused or aggravated by sleep deficiency.

Both scholars and medics have many times investigated the connection between nightmares and insomnia. Zadra & Donderi (2000) noted that persons who experience nightmares have higher levels of despair and nervousness compared with individuals with normal sleep habits. Zadra & Donderi (2000) indicated that these persons are more likely to exhibit signs of clinical depression. They also suggested that they have higher chances of developing clinical anxiety compared with people who have normal sleep. The study also pointed out that the more an individual experiences nightmares, the higher chances for him or her to suffer from depression. Disruptive sleep, apnea, has also been associated with nightmares. Apnea is a disorder in which somebody wakes up recurrently and very temporarily all through the night. One research indicated that individuals with apnea four times more likely to agonize from medical depression (Zadra & Donderi, 2000). The above researchers suggested that when sleep is repeatedly interrupted it could modify mind activity and neurochemicals, which influence our temper and thinking.

The main cause of nightmares

There are many causes of nightmares among patients. They are depression, exposure to horror movies, withdrawal from substance abuse, medications, and withdrawal from alcohol.

Methods

The thematic analysis and constant comparison analysis are used in the report. The analysis approach was selected because it enabled the researchers to identify common themes in the articles. Through this, the researchers are able to analyze with ease different literatures focused on how nightmares affect patients and how the incidences can be mitigated.

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Database used

For effective collection of qualitative data, the report relied on existing peer-reviewed articles. The above articles have explored the issues of sleep disturbances. The articles utilized were related to psychology or health. Examples of databases that were utilized to identify appropriate articles comprised of PubMed, ProQuest, Medline, psychological literature, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsychInfo. The articles, which related to health, were based on clinical trials.

Findings

The healing procedures are very vital in making sure that patients reclaim their normal lives. However, the investigations revealed that nightmares compromised on the healing process. The findings confirmed that sleep deficiency was the major effect of nightmares. The findings also confirmed that caused by nightmares could lead to the development of certain diseases. They include insomnia, apnea, depression, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. The above ailments have severe consequences on physical and psychological health.

Carpenter & Andrykowski (1998) suggested that the link between ailments related to sleep deficiency and nightmares is multifaceted. They highlighted that disturbed sleep caused by regular nightmares may insomnia, apnea, and depression. Particularly, the study noted that the above disorders could also interrupt sleep enhancing the chances of an individual developing nightmare. They asserted that irregular sleep habits caused by nightmares are among the leading causes of many psychological health issues.

Radorff, Nazem, & Fiske (2012) established that patients exhibiting depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts could be linked apnea and insomnia, which are caused by nightmare experiences. The unhappy clients with sleeplessness recorded higher points on the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation. According to the research, the focal clinical effect of the suicidal thoughts or sleep disorders correlation is that sleep evaluation can enhance the assessment of suicidal threat in clients with critical key depressive illnesses. Therefore, when treating depression disorder, sleep inhibitors like nightmares should be accounted.

Coughlin (2011) noted that individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder usually experience nightmares. Coughlin (2011) suggested that these individuals are likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. His findings are vital in understanding the cause of some cardiovascular ailments because they usually develop over a lengthy period owing to hemodynamic factors or hyperlipidemia. A similar research noted that in aging patients increased nightmares were attributed to an upsurge in asymmetrical heartbeats. The same investigation identified that irregular heartbeats was prevalent among aging women. The women reported nightmares and sleep deficiency.

Hammond (2005) suggests that numerous biological concepts explain the relationship between sleep and depression related to nightmares. The theories offer some explanation about the relations of the above conditions. For instance, SCN, hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis, cortisol stages, and circadian beat procedures are associated to nightmares and sleeplessness. The SCN controls circadian processes. The variations in activity in the SCN are analogous to the sleep/wake sequence. As such, an electrical action is advanced in the day when people are attentive and exposed to light. The activity is reduced during the night persons are less energetic and have little contact with natural light. Instabilities in the SCN are positive among individuals who experienced nightmares because of depression and anxiety issues.

Radorff, Nazem, & Fiske (2012) noted that many researchers have been undertaken to understand the relationship between depressions and sleep deficiency. However, the relationship among sleep deficiency, despair, and nightmares has not been fully comprehended. Astonishingly, little investigation has explicitly investigated the extent that anxiety affects the relationship between depressive symptomology and reduced sleep disturbances among clinical populations. The above imply that many questions are still unanswered with respect to the kinds of effects of nightmares on patients’ health.

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Implications of the research

The study is very important because it offered the researchers with vital information about the effects of nightmares in health. Consequently, the researchers have become conversant with means of treating and mitigating nightmares such as taking a warm bath, engaging in physical exercises, and relaxation techniques. For instance, the researcher may inform the nurses about these approaches. Through this, the medics and the researchers can execute the recommendations to reduce the occurrence of your nightmares and the impact they have on the health of the patients.

If they identify that the nightmares are a product of medication, they will be competent enough to administer another dosage to countercheck the negative side effects. For individuals whose bad dreams are triggered by apnea, insomnia, or depression, the medics will be able to manage the occurrences by treating the causes of the above conditions. Through this, they will be able to alleviate associated symptoms.

If bad dreams are not caused by illness or medication, the medics should investigate if the conditions are related to persons with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, or depression (Van, 2006). Nightmares caused by PTSD are easily managed through behavioral changes like imagery rehearsal treatment. The treatment is an effective cognitive behavioral treatment for bad dreams. The approach aids patients to change their nightmares by reviewing how they would like them to be revealed.

The above study was intended to inspect the impact of nightmares on health of the patients. The findings support former results that suggested that nightmares are linked with apprehension and sleeplessness. Nevertheless, contrasting past studies, the above research aimed to identify the extent of the effect of nightmares in patients’ treatment process. As hypothesized, there was a noteworthy affiliation amid depressive symptomology and sleep disorder among clinical populations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it should be noted that the investigation of effects of nightmares is of great importance as it helps in healing patients. Sensations usually linked with nightmares are nervousness, distress, or terror. Other associated sensations comprise of irritation, temper, humiliation, and disgust. Nightmares are common occurrences affecting the general population. The conditions are very prevalent among patients. The occurrences trigger sleeplessness, aggravate psychiatric anguish, and compromise on the quality of life. The study is very important because it offers insight about the effects of nightmares in health. It also offers means of managing the condition like taking a warm bath, engaging in physical exercises, and relaxation techniques. Many researchers have been undertaken to understand the relationship between depressions and sleep deficiency. Nevertheless, the relationship among sleep deficiency, despair, and nightmares has not been fully comprehended. Surprisingly, little investigation has explicitly investigated the extent that anxiety affects the relationship between depressive symptomology and reduced sleep disturbances among clinical populations.

There are many possibilities for upcoming research. As showed above, new tools for assessing of uncharacteristic signs of unhappiness, insomnia, and anxiety are required to explore the links among downheartedness, sleep difficulties, and nightmares. Besides, the research should examine the despair subtypes and sleep complications in diverse populations. With respect to implications, it was noted that the link between sleep deficiency and nightmares was intricate. As such, disturbed sleep may cause emotional imbalances, clinical despair, or nervousness leading to development of nightmares. Notably, the study noted that the above disorders could also interrupt sleep. As such, sleep is necessary for people to live a healthy and useful existence. In general, the study indicated that the more individual experiences sleeplessness, the higher chances for him or her to develop nightmares.

Comparison table

Article Comparison/description
Biofeedback approach to the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder Agnihotri, Pau, and Singh authored the article in the year 2007. The article compares several methods of treatment utilized in the treatment of anxiety disorder, which is the cause of nightmares.
Psychometric evaluation of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Carpenter and Andrykowski authored the article in the year 1998. Unlike the other articles, the article investigates the link between sleep deficiency and nightmares.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease Coughlin authored the article in the year 2011. The article focuses on the relation nightmares may cause cardiovascular diseases.
Neurofeedback treatment of depression and anxiety Hammond authored the article in the year 2005. The article focuses on the approaches used in the treatment of depression and anxiety, which are underlying causes of nightmares.
Impact of frequency of nightmares comorbid with insomnia on depression in Japanese rural community residents: a cross-sectional study Nakajima and Takahashi authored the article in the year 2014. The article focuses on the relationship between the effects of nightmares and sleeplessness on despair.
Insomnia Symptoms, Nightmares, and Suicide Risk: Duration of Sleep Disturbance Matters Radorff, Nazem, & Fiske authored the article in the year 2012. The article focuses on the link between nightmare and suicide.
Thematic and Content Analysis of Idiopathic Nightmares and Bad Dreams Robert & Zadra wrote the article in the year 2014. The article focuses on the themes of nightmares.
Update on sleep and psychiatric disorders Sateia authored the article in the year 2009. The article centers on psychiatric disorders associated with sleep deficiency.
Pharmacotherapeutic Treatment of Nightmares and Insomnia in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Overview of the Literature Van authored the article in the year 2006. It focuses on the available treatment used in managing nightmares.
Nightmares and bad dreams: Their prevalence and relationship to well-being Zadra & Donderi authored the report in 2000. The article focuses on nightmare experiences.

References

Agnihotri, H., Paul, M., & Singh Sandhu, J. (2007). Biofeedback approach to the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 2(3), 90 95.

Carpenter, J., & Andrykowski, M. (1998). Psychometric evaluation of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 45(1), 5-13.

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Coughlin, S. (2011). Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease. The Open Cardiovascular Medicine Journal, 5(1), 164-170.

Hammond, D. (2005). Neurofeedback treatment of depression and anxiety. Journal of Adult Development, 12(2), 131-1377.

Nakajima, S., & Takahashi, K. (2014). Impact of frequency of nightmares comorbid with insomnia on depression in Japanese rural community residents: a cross-sectional study. Sleep Medicine, 15(3), 371-374.

Radorff, M., Nazem, S., & Fiske, A. (2012). Insomnia Symptoms, Nightmares, and Suicide Risk: Duration of Sleep Disturbance Matters. Suicide Life Threat Behav, 43(2), 139-149.

Robert, G., & Zadra, A. (2014). Thematic and Content Analysis of Idiopathic Nightmares and Bad Dreams. Journal Of Abnormal Psychology, 10(1), 27-31.

Sateia, M. (2009). Update on sleep and psychiatric disorders. Chest, 135(5), 1370- 1379.

Van, S. (2006). Pharmacotherapeutic Treatment of Nightmares and Insomnia in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Overview of the Literature. Annals Of The New York Academy Of Sciences, 1071(1), 502-507.

Zadra, A., & Donderi, D. (2000). Nightmares and bad dreams: Their prevalence and relationship to well-being. Journal Of Abnormal Psychology, 109(2), 273-281.

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