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Nightmares are alarming dreams which occur when a person is asleep and are so frightening that the person wakes up. Sometimes the fear is so great that he /she is afraid to go back to sleep in case they experience the dream again. The nightmare is alarming and can be recalled often in great detail without any difficulty. A distinction needs to be made between recurring nightmares and the terrifying dreams associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In PTSD the disturbing dreams are part of a complex group of symptoms which follow a traumatic experience. See PTSD. However, when nightmares occur which are not in the context of PTSD it is important to recognise that there is some underlying emotional problem which needs to be identified and resolved. It can be a relatively simple problem which can be sorted out quite quickly; alternatively the dreams may signify a complex inner conflict which will require a lengthy treatment programme.




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