Successful therapy for chronic nightmares

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Chronic nightmares can be treated with psychotherapy

Around five percent of Germans suffer from chronic nightmares (including nightmares) that rob them of restful sleep at night and can also lead to significant stress in other areas of life, according to the current press release from the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Dr. According to Regina Steil from the behavioral therapy outpatient clinic at Goethe University, "only a few sufferers know that chronic nightmares can be treated quickly and effectively with psychotherapy."

According to the expert, the nightmares can usually be treated relatively promisingly psychotherapeutically, but many sufferers are not aware of this. They torment themselves with terrifying dreams night after night, which can become a considerable burden in the long run. In a pilot study, psychologists from Goethe University were able to show "that the frequency of nightmares after targeted therapy could be significantly reduced within four weeks and that success remained stable in the following three months," the university said.

In the course of the pilot study, the therapy not only reduced the number of nightmares but also the “detectable extent of anxiety, depression, stress and tension”, reports the Goethe University. Now in the behavior therapy outpatient clinic is also "a large-scale treatment study (planned) in which the effectiveness of two treatment concepts is to be compared with one another," the university continues. Only a few therapeutic sessions were required to treat the nightmare patients. Currently, we are still looking for volunteer study participants who are interested in participating in the treatment study.

Nightmares strain the psyche Nightmares are generally stressful dreams from which those affected wake up and which they can remember in great detail and vividly. In the nightmares, your own life and / or your loved one is often threatened. Even threats to personal safety or self-esteem are not uncommon in nightmares. Those affected often feel massive fear or fear even after waking up. This "often goes hand in hand with physical reactions such as a racing heart", reports the Goethe University. For this reason, those affected often have a strong fear of falling asleep. In addition, according to the experts, the nightmares can often also cause depressive moods and an increased sense of stress. Psychotherapeutic treatment is therefore urgently required, and the statutory health insurers also recognize nightmares as an independent clinical picture. The nightmares can also result from post-traumatic stress disorder. In such cases, the therapeutic measures in this context should also be designed to treat stress disorders. (fp)

Also read:
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Intoxicants to hear?

Image: Gerd Altmann /

Author and source information

Video: Too scared to close their eyes: treating PTSD nightmares


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