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How do you stop nightmares?

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Quick Answer

If nightmares become so severe that they interfere with an individual's waking life, they are often treated using psychodynamic psychotherapy, the medication prazosin or, in rare cases, image rehearsal therapy, according to WebMD. Mayo Clinic suggests that treatments for stress or an underlying medical condition may also be helpful in stopping nightmares. The National Institute of Health states that sometimes tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors are used.

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Mayo Clinic states that nightmares are a common occurrence and are only to be treated in cases where they are so frequent that they become unmanageable. These cases are indicative of a sleep disorder known as nightmare disorder, which is a parasomnia. Nightmares may also be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In cases where the nightmares are a symptom of an anxiety disorder instead of a parasomnia, the treatment plan is different. Anti-anxiety medications and different types of therapy are used in place of techniques specific to the parasomnia. Image rehearsal therapy is commonly, but carefully, used to treat nightmares that are a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The National Institute of Health claims that the most common treatment is pharmacological — prazosin. While other medicines such as tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are sometimes used, these medications are shown to be only moderately effective.

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