Nightmare Disorder Treatments

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

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Kinds of Nightmare Disorder Treatments are Available?

Nightmare Disorder Treatment is often unnecessary in children because Nightmare Disorder usually fades as a child grows, unless it is causing debilitating effects, such as disturbed sleep and significant distress and/or it affects the child’s daily performance owing to increased day time sleepiness after a significant sleep deprivation at night.

Psychological Counseling

Nightmare Disorder Treatment for individuals with an underlying psychiatric disorder cause is approached with psychological counseling. The person is taught to deal with the recurring themes of their Nightmares. The Nightmare Disorder Treatment is also focused on dealing with the other associated psychiatric conditions to help manage these factors that can magnify the condition of one’s Nightmare Disorder.

Stress Reduction Technique

Among the most common factors that trigger Nightmare Disorder is stress, which can be alleviated through different relaxation techniques, stress reduction techniques, and proper stress management. The treatment approach on stress reduction techniques can be a helpful complementary treatment to other major treatments for Nightmare Disorders, such as psychotherapy. Exercise, meditation and yoga can help relieve the sense of stress.


This form of treatment for Nightmare Disorder consists of teaching the individual to identify major stressors in their life, the cause of their depression, and learn to deal with past traumatic events and explore the various ways by which they can reduce or eliminate them.

Light Therapy

This form of Nightmare Disorder Treatment involves the shining of light into the eyes for a certain pattern and period of times at night. The light therapy is also useful in treating seasonal affective disorders and depression. The light therapy involves a brain mechanism that can help transform one’s nightmare into a lucid dream where the person is capable of being aware of their dreams and is able to somewhat control the events in their dreams. Most nightmares in Nightmare Disorders have a repetitive pattern and often give the person an inevitable feeling of distress, however the sense of being able to control one’s dream through the help of light therapy gives the sufferer better confidence that their nightmares can be controlled and are manageable, thus helping them overcome their fear and anxiety about their Nightmare Disorder.6

Other Nightmare Disorder Treatments & Management

  • If medication withdrawal plays a role in the occurrence of nightmares, it is important to ask a physician for alternative medications that can be used for the gradual withdrawal process from the medicine.
  • Desensitization method is also helpful in the treatment of chronic nightmares where the method uses an instruction about rehearsing the nightmare and imagining a different ending of the dream.
  • Another form of treatment approach found to be helpful in Nightmare Disorder is the rehearsal technique that consists of asking the patient to select and write down their recent nightmares. They are asked to change the nightmare in any way they wish and write a changed version of their nightmare through an imagery relaxed state. The patients are asked to repetitively rehearse changing their dreams once a day for three consecutive days after each of their nightmare, until it goes away.
  • Because the nightmare condition affects children, they need to be consoled and reassured of your support for them.
  • Develop a regular relaxing bedtime with a consistent schedule. One should try to make the child feel as comfortable as they can be to reduce the stress factor that can cause nightmares.
  • One may use a light at night in order to reduce the child’s anxiety level.
  • If the child experiences a recurrent nightmare, then the parents should try to talk through the nightmare and help the child imagine a less scary ending of their dreams.
  • Medications are often not an ideal treatment regimen for Nightmare Disorders unlike in other cases of sleep disorders where medications play an important treatment role in the recovery and management. Drug treatment is found to likely cause nightmares.

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