Frequency Of Nightmares

What Causes Nightmares?

Nightmares can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose nightmares, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "nightmares" as a symptom.  Here are five possibilities:
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Liver Congestion

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
metallic taste in mouth
a high-stress lifestyle
poor ability to relax
chronic nausea
sugar/sweet craving
negative reaction to coffee
partial aspartame/neotame avoidance
unsound sleep
itchy skin
high diastolic blood pressure
dark areas under eyes
high systolic blood pressure
... and more than 100 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of nightmares:
Cause Probability Status
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 91% Confirm
Anxiety 12% Unlikely
Borderline Personality Disorder 1% Ruled out
Stress 1% Ruled out
Liver Congestion 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Sleep-Related Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about frequency of nightmares:
How often and severely do you experience bad dreams? A nightmare is more intense than a bad dream, waking you up and causing significant emotional distress.
Possible responses:
→ Never / don't know
→ Bad dreams under once a month / rarely nightmares
→ Monthly bad dreams / nightmares under once a month
→ Weekly bad dreams / monthly nightmares
→ Weekly/nightly/recurring nightmares
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate occasional bad dreams, occasional nightmares, regular nightmares or frequent nightmares, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Nightmare disorder has been linked to PTSD.  Those with PTSD may have intrusive mental images or hallucinations about a trauma, or recurrent nightmares, much more than the average person.

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