Nightmare Disorder Symptoms

(Also Known As: Nightmares Symptoms, Dream Anxiety Disorder Symptoms, Repeated Nightmares Symptoms, Insomnia Symptoms, Sleep Terror Disorder Symptoms, Sleepwalking Disorder Symptoms, Chronic Nightmare Disorder Symptoms)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What are the Symptoms of Nightmare Disorder?

Nightmare Disorder's major Symptoms that can be seen in include the recurrent and sudden awakening from a nap or major sleep because of a frightening or disturbed dream occurrence while sleeping, which is referred as Nightmares. An individual with Nightmare Disorder can recall in detail the frightening dream, which usually involves threat to survival, self-esteem, or one’s security. Upon waking from a nightmare the person immediately becomes alert and oriented. This is one symptom that distinguishes Nightmare Disorder from Sleep Terror Disorder and forms of epilepsy where the individual remains confused and disoriented upon waking up from a dream.4

The resulting effect in Nightmare Disorder of the disturbed sleep due to frequent awakenings is significant distress with impairment on the occupational, social, and other areas of functioning of the individual with Nightmare Disorder. In rare cases, symptoms of moaning, talking and slightly moving during a Nightmare may be manifested. Upon waking up the person usually shows a sense of fear. Physical signs of increased heart rate, fear, anxiety and sweating are also evident. The person usually learns to fear going back to sleep, because the vividness of recalling the dream images can linger in the person’s mind and makes them unable to relax and return to sleep peacefully. This situation can often encourage the symptoms of anxiety and depression to surface as well as symptoms that are associated with sleep deprivation such as daytime sleepiness, decreased mental alertness, and irritability.

Simple Nightmares can occur and it does not cause impairment on one’s functioning. However due to the repetitive occurrence of Nightmares in Nightmare Disorders, it significantly affects the total well-being of the person affected.

Could You Have Nightmare Disorder?

Nightmare Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Dyssomnia – Difficulty to Go to Sleep, Difficulty to Remain Sleeping, Sleep Disorder, Primary Sleep Disorder
Hypersomnia – Recurrent Episodes of Daytime Sleepiness, Sleep Disorder, Frequent Daytime Napping, Anxiety, Disturbed Sleep
Narcolepsy – Dyssomnia, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Daytime Drowsiness, Insomnia, Drooping Eyelids, Lack of Sleep, Sleep Awakening
Parasomnia NOS – Sleep Disorder, Abnormal Movements, Sleep Awakening, Abnormal Sleep Pattern, Dreaming, Disturbed Emotion and Behavior
Sleep Terror Disorder – Sleep Terror Disorder, Extreme Terror, Difficulty to Wake Up, Emotional Fear, Parasomnia
Sleepwalking Disorder – Somnambulism, Parasomnia, Engaging in Activities While in a State of Sleep