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What are the health effects of nightmares in adults?

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Nightmares become much more than bad dreams when they have a significant effect on your health and well-being. Among people who experience nightmares, those who are anxious or depressed are more likely to be distressed about the experience and suffer even more psychological ill effects. Although the relationship is not understood, nightmares have been associated with suicide. Because nightmares may have a significant impact on your quality of life, it's important to consult a medical professional if you experience them regularly. Sleep deprivation, which can be caused by nightmares, can cause a host of medical conditions, including heart disease, depression, and obesity. If nightmares in adults are a symptom of untreated sleep apnea or post-traumatic stress disorder, the underlying disorders can also have significant negative effects on physical and mental health.

From: Nightmares in Adults WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Sleep Association: "Nightmares."

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: "Nightmares."

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Nightmares, Sleepwalking and Night Terrors Haunt Many."

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Nightmares."

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: "Nightmares."

Levin, R., , March 2002. Sleep

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

SOURCES:

American Sleep Association: "Nightmares."

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: "Nightmares."

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Nightmares, Sleepwalking and Night Terrors Haunt Many."

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: "Nightmares."

National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: "Nightmares."

Levin, R., , March 2002. Sleep

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

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How are nightmares in adults treated?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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