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By On May 16th, 2014

What Can Be Done About Chronic Nightmares Related to PTSD?

Source: Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians

Source: Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is believed to affect over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone, adding to an estimated total of 24.4 million Americans thought to have PTSD at any time. Unfortunately, up to half of those dealing with the signs of PTSD don’t seek help for many of the symptoms that can greatly hamper their ability to perform in the world.

The most common symptoms associated with PTSD are intrusive memories and triggers that can cause individuals to repeatedly relive the traumatic event. But, many PTSD sufferers also experience chronic nightmares which can magnify the issues raised by the other symptoms by robbing the individuals of sleep.

Historically, health care providers have been reluctant to treat issues like nightmares, as they are seemingly out of our control. But, Christian Psychologist Phil Monroe urges Christian counselors to confront these issues head-on.

As he explains, “it is well-known that reductions in quality of sleep make all mental illnesses worse. Nightmare sufferers understandably avoid sleep but of course this creates a vicious cycle of insomnia, anxiety, and increased avoidance strategies.”

Monroe offers two separate treatment options on his blog (among several existing intervention possibilities). If you are struggling with chronic nightmares or other symptoms of PTSD, please seek professional help. There’s no need for you to struggle through it alone, and if you allow yourself to fall into the cycle of sleep avoidance you may begin a downward spiral that exacerbates the issues you are already feeling.

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