Dr. Nancy E. Reid, DHSc, PA-C
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a trauma-related disorder that may occur following a real or perceived threat of death or serious injury. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder include hyperarousal and re-experiencing of the traumatic event through nightmares. Nightmares are a common feature of PTSD among combat veterans and are a significant source of distress and sleep disturbance. Veterans who frequently experience nightmares are at a higher risk of impaired daytime functioning, depression, and suicide. Sleep disturbance may continue even after otherwise successful PTSD treatment. Treatment for PTSD-related nightmares often requires targeted treatment in addition to the efforts made to address PTSD symptoms in general, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and cognitive behavioral therapy. Several medications are commonly used to treat nightmares, but efficacy may vary. Other treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and imagery rehearsal. Positive airway pressure may be effective in reducing nightmares and decreasing sleep disturbance in patients with comorbid sleep apnea.
Tentinger J. Treatment of PTSD Related Nightmares in Military Veterans. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2021; 3(2).
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