Medical Questions > Mental Health > PTSD Forum

Really, Really Vivid Nightmares in an Adult (Page 1)

I have these super vivid nightmares several times a week. They take place in real time, I believe they are occurring as I dream them. The theme is always the same: "They" (police, government agents, murderers, whoever) are busting down my front door, rushing in and dragging me out of bed (to kill me, torture me, interogate me, put me in a concentration camp, etc). I usually wake up at this point. Other times I wake freaking out in the livingroom because I'm trying to stop them from breaking in. The scariest is when I wake up and BELIEVE "THEY" are actually at my bedside - - I would swear in court that there are real people in my bedroom.

Behind these dreams is a history of abuse and a diagnosis of post-tramatic stress disorder, but I need to know how to break the cycle before I have a heart attack out of fright!

Has anyone heard of "lucid dreaming" where, in the middle of the nightmare, you remind yourself that you're dreaming and change the outcome of the dream? I read about it online but I couldn't figure out how to put it into practice.

I practice relaxation each night before I fall asleep. I also use a sound machine set on the ocean setting to try to occupy my brain.
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First Helper User Profile MandMs
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replied February 5th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Recurring nightmares are common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and people with PTSD often experience the exact replica of the traumatic event in a nightmare.
It's important to know that the traumatic nightmares are a normal way to work through the memories of the traumatic event and the more you talk and discuss your emotions related to traumatic nightmare, the quicker the subside of the nightmares will take place.

What are your usual thoughts and emotions while experiencing the nightmare?
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replied February 5th, 2008
Experienced User
Really, Really Vivid Nightmares in an Adult
Thanks for the information about PTSD nightmares.

During the nightmare I am positive that "they" are really going to get me this time and I'm in absolute, utter fear for my life. Each time, I'm sure that this is the time I will die. Also, there's no help in sight in the dream, just like what happened in life, so there's the abandonment thing.

scared
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replied February 20th, 2008
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Try to discuss how you feel the nightmare needs to change in order to feel safer. Do that with a sense of strength and control.
Are you getting some treatment for PTSD?
If you don’t get treatment, PTSD can persist for years. In fact, it never fades for about 30% of those who aren’t treated.
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replied February 20th, 2008
Experienced User
Yes, I'm being treated.
What technique do I use to change the outcome/impact of the dream?
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replied February 21st, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
You can check this link:
http://www.macalester.edu/psychology/whath ap/UBNRP/nightmares/Adeal.htm

What kind of meds you are currently taking?
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replied February 21st, 2008
Experienced User
Psychotropic meds, synthroid, antihistimine/decongestant, prilosec.
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replied February 21st, 2008
Experienced User
I forgot to thank you for the link.
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replied March 13th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
You are welcome anytime.
Did you find the link helpful?
Here is another one:
http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content /full/36/18/23

Sleep disturbances occur in up to 70% of patients with PTSD.
Have you heard about Prazosin or maybe used it already?
I just found a site with informations from a few studies about this med used for nightmares and other sleep disturbances in people who suffer from PTSD.
All of the studies have shown that Prazosin is a promising and fairly well tolerated agent for the management of PTSD-related nightmares and sleep disturbances.


Which psychotropic meds you are using?
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replied March 14th, 2008
Experienced User
MandMs wrote:
You are welcome anytime.
Did you find the link helpful?
Here is another one:
http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content /full/36/18/23

Sleep disturbances occur in up to 70% of patients with PTSD.
Have you heard about Prazosin or maybe used it already?
I just found a site with informations from a few studies about this med used for nightmares and other sleep disturbances in people who suffer from PTSD.
All of the studies have shown that Prazosin is a promising and fairly well tolerated agent for the management of PTSD-related nightmares and sleep disturbances.


Which psychotropic meds you are using?



This link is very helpful. I currently take lithium, geodon, wellbutrin and cymbalta. My doctor just added primidone for essential tremor.
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replied March 20th, 2008
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Prazosin, the drug I mentioned in my previous post, is commonly used to treat high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. When was used for sleep disturbances, even in children, it doses were lower than those for control of blood pressure.
Usage of Cymbalta can cause nightmares as its withdrawal.
Nightmares are side effect of Wellbutrin, too.

Did you have the tremor( I guess tremor of your hands) before starting the usage of lithium or it started after use of lithium?
I don't know if your doctor took in consideration the fact that lithium can cause trembling of the hands or tremor as side effect. This should subside as your body adjusts to the medication, but, can persist or become bothersome. Please, inform your doctor about this.

Best wishes!
Marija
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replied March 20th, 2008
Experienced User
Are you a doctor??
Since the age of 14 or so I have had Essential Tremor. It's now exacerbated by Lithium. At this time I've chosen to remain on lithium (and the rest of my meds) because I have achieved a very high quality of life. The primidone seems promising in treating the tremors. Also, I've found that I have fewer nightmares since beginning primidone. My guess is that it's somehow due to the phenobarbytol in primidone.
Thanks for your onoging concern.
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replied March 26th, 2008
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No, I'm not a doctor, yet. I have 8 exams left to become one (being mother of one and taking care of house and family, keeps me away from that goal Smile)
I'm glad you find primidone very helpful, actually, is a first line of treatment for essential tremor.
Also, some clinical reports give informations that primidone with lithium has great beneficial effects for bipolar patients (when lithium has effect only on manic symptoms, primidone has been found as very helpful antidepressant)
Anticonvulsants, like primidone can either enhance or disrupt sleep. They have been used as sleep promoting agents, decreasing the time needed to fall asleep (also, decreasing the amount of REM sleep) Probably, decreased REM sleep is the reason you have less frequent nightmares, because, nightmares occur exclusively during REM sleep.

Have you been informed that because of primidone use, your CBC count and chemistry panel should be checked every 6 months?
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replied April 28th, 2008
I am replying rather late but I just found the article and this site tonight........I have had dreams like these since I was about 6, my oldest brother, Dad, and Grandad have all had these. These ARE not from PSTS....what a silly thought. I am sure that it is hereditary with our family.

I can change my dreams. No I cannot go from hiding behind the dumpster because the missile fire is coming in to jumping through Daisy's but I can make it from missile fire at the dumpster to being able to redirect it to a few feet a way so I can run across the street and get out of the way( just one of my vivid nightmares).

When I was in my early 20s, I worked with someone else that had these same types of nightmares. He to, had found his own way to change them. It was the first time I ever spoke my dreams out loud do someone. I have tried before and since but everyone I have tried has felt like I was telling a Steven King novel and could not understand. In other words just giving them a tiny bit of insight freaked them out.

My daughter is now showing signs of this and I am helping her learn how to change the dreams.

If you are interested in hearing how I worked on this please let me know. Its an awful thing to live with.

S
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replied May 7th, 2008
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Hi, 307!
Can you, please, share with us your personal experiences?
It could be of a great help for many users of ehealth forum.

There are some studies that have shown that one’s personality type plays a big role in the intensity of the dream experience and the amount of dream recall present in our waking life. They are talking about two types of personalities and the one that is more prone to experiencing nightmares, tend to have a heightened emotional sensitivity within their dream states (every type of emotion this kind of person has is much more exaggerated within their dreams, which leads to the possibility of more nightmares). They do not differentiate dreams from reality.
This can give some explanation, why we can talk about nightmares running in families.
Susceptibility to experiencing nightmares can be inhered if we are having similar personality to our close ones.

Best wishes!
Marija
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replied February 4th, 2009
Taming My Nightmares
I have always had nightmares about being chased until there was no where left to hide anymore, being in a fire where I couldn't get out, etc... My mother taught me how to visualize a black square, make myself believe it was a door and walk out of my nightmare and into a new (and hopefully happier) dream. It was difficult to do at 4 years old but by the time I was 6, I could not only do that but I could also "fly" out of a dream. It just takes practice to teach a tiny part of your mind to respond to your logical mind when your asleep.

I was bullied in school but have no other forms of PTS, so I don't know why I've always had nightmares. Now that I'm a Mom, they tend to focus around my children. Last night I had a horribly graphic one about someone hurting my son. Now I can't close my eyes and I'm exhausted. Any suggestions about why the nightmares shifted to being about my children? I've never been able to fly out of a nightmare with anyone or bring anyone else through a door, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to learn in order to stop it.
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replied February 4th, 2009
I'm not a Doctor, but I too suffer from PTSD and refuse to take medication. (It all hurts my head and makes me grind my teeth until the break! So don't lecture me about not taking meds) And I have terrible violent nightmares every night. Just last night I woke up to nearly punching my boyfriend in the face. My fist was right at his nose. Poor thing, he never woke up, thank God. But anyways, what I was going to tell you was how I personally cope with things, without the help of doctors. I noticed that when I ate withing 2 hours before falling asleep, that my nightmares became a lot more violent (I ate before bed last night). I have also noticed that if I'm having a bad week I can watch or read something nice, something that would never provoke a thought about...bad events from the past. Like nothing sad, or scary. Comedies are usually my route. Anyways, a healthy dose of comedy or a love story with no tears directly before falling asleep have really helped me tame the terror and violence.
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replied April 8th, 2009
Thank you... Finally
Thank you! I have been experiencing the exact same nightmares where I honestly believe there are people in my room going to kill me. The nightmares have been on and off for the past 10 years but have been almost every night for the past 3 years. I have attacked my boyfriend on occasions because I believe in that moment he is part of â??the planâ?? to get me. A lot of times I find myself slipping out down the side of the bed and crawling towards the door or I simply run from my room where I then wake up enough to realise it was another dream. I have discussed this with a doctor, a therapist and friends all who look at me like I am crazy and do not understand what I go through. I have not been diagnosed with PTSD but think it is a possible explanation for me. It is comforting for me to know others are experiencing these same sorts of nightmares.
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replied July 20th, 2009
help me
Hi.I am 15 years old and i have been having reocuring nightmares for as long as i can remember.I have 4 differant reocuring nightmares and i also feel like their are people in my room, and i feel like they are going to kill me. ever sense i moved in to the house im currently living in, i have seen this demonic clown in my room and i feel like im crazy!i was never scared of clowns until the first time iv seen it.it tells me to burn the house down and to kill things.i dont listen to it. wenever i see it i just hide under my blankets and cry. i talked to my mom about this and she beleaves me. she beleaves that i am "touched".i have been seeing spirits seens i was 5. i still get scared of them. they communicate with me through my dreams and i beleave that the demonic clown in my room has somthing to do with my nightmares.
it would come to my room every night. my mom told me if i ever get scared to knock on my wall and she would come.well i do that and i thought it was gone.it didnt bother me for about a month, and then i have this dream where it told me that i cant run and that no one can help me. it was to long of a dream to type but i dont remember waking up, i thought it was real.i ran out of my room crying and shaking.
one of my tricks that i used to save my self in my dreams was that i would fly my self up into the sky and sit on the moon until i was better,in my last nightmare i tried to but for some reason it wasent working and i would here it getting closer and then the clown grabed my leg and told me that i cant run.i didnt know where else to go.im starting to think im crazy.can anyone help me...im scared.
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replied July 20th, 2009
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Kaitie12-I was thinking about when I have bad dreams that I learned to change the channels..Ihad almost forotten about this..As a little one I had bad dreams of assault and what I did was say I don't like this channel and turned to something I liked..It didn't work everytime but it's something to try..

There are many people afraid of clowns and feel there is a presence to them..Get rid of yours-on trash day-put the clown in a bag and take to the curb..Say good riddance and be done with the clown..

I still think you need to see a professional..Have you ever discussed any of this with your doctor?..I know on another thread you said your mom had the same bad dreams as a child. Does she know that your dreams say to burn down the house..It juat sounds to me like your dreams are taking another route..

Another post talks about visualizing goo dthingsd, not eating 2 hrs. before bedtime and watching only fun things andromance..Work on changing the channel or taking yourself away from the dreams for good..Maybe even saying not to tonight and God I need rest please bring me nice dreams and sleep.. kd
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