PTSD and Nightmares

Posted by lindasmith1222 @lindasmith1222, Jul 12, 2022

Is there a PTSD group? I have nightmares very night all night long. I woke up and am terrified. Then I do not have energy through the day because my sleep is so terrifying.

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PTSD and Nightmares should be the title. I misspelled, how do I edit??

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Hi @lindasmith1222, You will notice we changed the discussion title for you. Thank you for starting this really important discussion. There are many discussions for PTSD but no specific PTSD group. While we wait for other members to share their experience and what has helped, I found this article discussing the topic that might be helpful.

"Are nightmares a symptom of PTSD?
While not all people who have repetitive nightmares are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, these nightmares are a common experience in people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It's thought that less than 10%9 of trauma victims develop PTSD."
— How Trauma Can Affect Dreams: How To Cope: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/dreams/how-trauma-can-affect-dreams

Have you discussed the nightmares and possible causes with your doctor or care team?

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I have discussed this with social worker, doctor, mental health nurse partitioner many times. I was given a high blood pressure pill prescription for the nightmares which made the nightmares worse. I am amazed that only 10 % of trauma get symptoms. This disorder must be the most undiagnosed, ignored by health professionals that I have experienced.

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@lindasmith1222

I have discussed this with social worker, doctor, mental health nurse partitioner many times. I was given a high blood pressure pill prescription for the nightmares which made the nightmares worse. I am amazed that only 10 % of trauma get symptoms. This disorder must be the most undiagnosed, ignored by health professionals that I have experienced.

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I'm sorry to hear that you haven't gotten much help. I did find this research type of article that provides more information and might offer some insight that helps.

— Management of nightmares in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: current perspectives: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6263296/

The Veterans Administration also has some information that may be helpful — PTSD nightmares: Is there an effective treatment?: https://www.research.va.gov/currents/0319-PTSD-nightmares.cfm

If you don't mind sharing, is your PTSD related to trauma of some sort?

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@johnbishop

I'm sorry to hear that you haven't gotten much help. I did find this research type of article that provides more information and might offer some insight that helps.

— Management of nightmares in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: current perspectives: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6263296/

The Veterans Administration also has some information that may be helpful — PTSD nightmares: Is there an effective treatment?: https://www.research.va.gov/currents/0319-PTSD-nightmares.cfm

If you don't mind sharing, is your PTSD related to trauma of some sort?

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Yes

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I retired from working with combat veterans, psychotherapy, PTSD management. One treatment that has relatively strong success rates is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, To find a therapist look up CBT or ask your doctor for a referral. If you are a combat veteran, make an appointment at your nearest Vet Center.
There are some other very promising treatments on the horizon. Start here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-psychedelic-drugs-may-become-a-key-treatment-for-ptsd-and-depression-180979983/. The research is exciting.

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@lizzy102

I retired from working with combat veterans, psychotherapy, PTSD management. One treatment that has relatively strong success rates is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, To find a therapist look up CBT or ask your doctor for a referral. If you are a combat veteran, make an appointment at your nearest Vet Center.
There are some other very promising treatments on the horizon. Start here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-psychedelic-drugs-may-become-a-key-treatment-for-ptsd-and-depression-180979983/. The research is exciting.

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@johnbishop, and all…I was recently diagnosed with PTSD and my doctor prescribed probably the same blood pressure medicine as you tried Prazosin. It's a very low dose, 1mg, and so after he ck'd with my cardiologist, we changed my metoprolol to take 1 tablet in the morning, 1 tablet in midafternoon, then the Prazosin at bedtime.

I'm pleased to say my blood pressure is doing well, and under control, and the new med has helped my night terrors. I still have nightmares, which I do need to relay to my doctor, but no night terrors. Those are so horrible I'm terrified upon waking, gasping for breath, can't think. have terrible tremors, full body. Before taking this med, I had them frequently and it took 2-3 days to recover. Now, I have nightmares that still cause sweating and tremors, but usually, I bounce back, ha! within a few hours after waking, by calming my breathing, focusing on reality, hugging myself, and sometimes turning over to a comfy fetal position for peace. It helps. Also, my sweet kitty often comes to my side and curls up close or even close to my head and lays her head on mine. It's amazing how she knows and responds so. Her purr is loud and the consistent rhythm with the sound is very comforting.

Now, I'm working on reducing panic attacks while awake. The night terrors are reduced, so I'm extremely pleased with the drug. It may need tweaking a bit, we'll see. I'll let you folks know as it happens.

I hope the research continues for us all who suffer from this trauma. Every night with a nightmare is bad, but the terrors are so hard on my body, I don't think I can tolerate many such nights. My aneurysm may not survive!

Hopefully, we'll be able to help each other here and find new solutions that work for us. Be well, Be blessed. elizabeth

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@ess77

@johnbishop, and all…I was recently diagnosed with PTSD and my doctor prescribed probably the same blood pressure medicine as you tried Prazosin. It's a very low dose, 1mg, and so after he ck'd with my cardiologist, we changed my metoprolol to take 1 tablet in the morning, 1 tablet in midafternoon, then the Prazosin at bedtime.

I'm pleased to say my blood pressure is doing well, and under control, and the new med has helped my night terrors. I still have nightmares, which I do need to relay to my doctor, but no night terrors. Those are so horrible I'm terrified upon waking, gasping for breath, can't think. have terrible tremors, full body. Before taking this med, I had them frequently and it took 2-3 days to recover. Now, I have nightmares that still cause sweating and tremors, but usually, I bounce back, ha! within a few hours after waking, by calming my breathing, focusing on reality, hugging myself, and sometimes turning over to a comfy fetal position for peace. It helps. Also, my sweet kitty often comes to my side and curls up close or even close to my head and lays her head on mine. It's amazing how she knows and responds so. Her purr is loud and the consistent rhythm with the sound is very comforting.

Now, I'm working on reducing panic attacks while awake. The night terrors are reduced, so I'm extremely pleased with the drug. It may need tweaking a bit, we'll see. I'll let you folks know as it happens.

I hope the research continues for us all who suffer from this trauma. Every night with a nightmare is bad, but the terrors are so hard on my body, I don't think I can tolerate many such nights. My aneurysm may not survive!

Hopefully, we'll be able to help each other here and find new solutions that work for us. Be well, Be blessed. elizabeth

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Prazosin is the medication. I gave it another "go" 2 nights ago, and it did minimize my nightmares. No energy yesterday. After 14 months, my trauma happened May 30, 2021, my night terrors have been lower in frequency, sort of naturally, with time, on their own, so that is an indicator that I am healing. It is a slow process. After 14 months of nightly nightmares that wake me, I go back to sleep and then I either have a continuation of the nightmare or another begins, I am exhausted. I moved from Arizona to the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life. I lost all my support systems and getting mental health, let alone good mental health therapy, is nearly nonexistent. Thank you for a response.
P.S. I use a weighted blanket and it helps very, very much. It makes me feel as if I am comforted, back in my mother's womb and safe again.

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@lindasmith1222

Prazosin is the medication. I gave it another "go" 2 nights ago, and it did minimize my nightmares. No energy yesterday. After 14 months, my trauma happened May 30, 2021, my night terrors have been lower in frequency, sort of naturally, with time, on their own, so that is an indicator that I am healing. It is a slow process. After 14 months of nightly nightmares that wake me, I go back to sleep and then I either have a continuation of the nightmare or another begins, I am exhausted. I moved from Arizona to the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life. I lost all my support systems and getting mental health, let alone good mental health therapy, is nearly nonexistent. Thank you for a response.
P.S. I use a weighted blanket and it helps very, very much. It makes me feel as if I am comforted, back in my mother's womb and safe again.

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@lindasmith1222, @lizzy102, @johnbishop, and all….Thanks, Linda, for your message. I love you're using a weighted blanket. I found that wonderful thing last year through a group started by @artscaping, Chris. She began a thread discussing the importance of doing things for yourself. Giving yourself gifts. I hadn't given myself anything for years and years, other than necessities. I loved this concept and took it to heart.

I bought a new mattress, then a 4" mattress cover to top that off. Wow, do I have a comfy bed for the first time in so long. I learned about the weighted blanket and immediately bought one. Linda, it was a lifesaver for me. I felt so comforted, physically and emotionally. What a wonderful gift to myself! I even now, in Florida, have it at the foot of my bed. My feet and lower legs are usually under that blanket, with an overhead fan on high and a.c. on 50..Ha! Actually, it's a help year-round. Just adjust to the weather, but the effect is outstanding. I hope someone reads these notes and adds this to the helpful list.

I have also increased my bird feeders and fountains on my patio. I have 5-6 feeders for the wild birds in my neighborhood. I loved these creatures for years, but never invested whole-heartedly until last year. It was a tough year for me in many ways, and my birds, learning about them, recognizing them, and meeting new feathered friends have given me an inner peace I truly needed. They have such interesting, individual personalities. I have several kinds of woodpeckers, finches, cardinal families year after year, mourning doves, and crossbills! and wonderful musical thrashers, many come in couples. I adore them so. Little chickadees, a few jays…I'm amazed at the numbers and variety. You know, they respond to me. Several come to watch me clean and fill the feeders, water the plants, and fill the baths. I talk with them and now have new friends. The love is returned! See, this is pure joy for me and helped me through added isolation of covid as well as illnesses.

I also just began rescuing plants at the garden shop, the ones they put out reduced before tossing. I can't stand the thought of a dying plant, so I grab those I think will survive in my home. I have a collection of orchids, money trees, zz plants, fig-leaf, and succulents…plants have been a mental health medication for me for my adult life., but had limited energy or ability to care for them due to increased illness. Try a trip just walking through the garden shop to soak up the life, the remarkable colors, the positive zoning you'll experience. Really brings new life to my entire self.

And, of course, this blessing, Connect. I've learned so much that's gotten me through tough days, months and hopefully shared that help along the way.

I noticed you said you tried the Prozasin again. I've learned and now am extremely careful with all my meds to take them regularly for a period of time to give them a chance to get in my bloodstream, to give my body a chance to adjust to the change, and almost never do I stop a medication without first consulting my doctor. So many of these things can do harm if taken sporadically or stopped suddenly. And, with a blood-pressure medication, we ckd first with my cardiologist and worked out good timing to take everything, since they play off each other.

Just alerting you to my experiences re meds. That may be why this med is helping me some with the terrors. My doctor told me it might take a couple of days/weeks to see results. It took several days before the terrors lessened, then changed. Still a work in progress, but I'm staying with it for improvement I do see.

I'm hopeful you continue to find help for these awful nights. And get to the core issues to resolve the pain. I had an experience last year that brought back the enormous pain of trauma as a young teen which I thought I'd worked through years ago. Well, it's still there and came forward full force. I'm 75. Totally caught me by surprise. But, it's now recognized and there are treatments and activities to help. Thankfully. I'm joining a group of women who experienced trauma causing these kinds of issues. Another stip forward.

Good hearing you're continuing to work with this mess. I think my pure stubbornness and determination are getting me through this process as well as multiple illnesses. Mayo doctors and the system have been my salvation. So thankful for the help from the entire Mayo experience.

Be well, continue to improve, be good to yourself, and be blessed. elizabeth

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@lindasmith1222

Prazosin is the medication. I gave it another "go" 2 nights ago, and it did minimize my nightmares. No energy yesterday. After 14 months, my trauma happened May 30, 2021, my night terrors have been lower in frequency, sort of naturally, with time, on their own, so that is an indicator that I am healing. It is a slow process. After 14 months of nightly nightmares that wake me, I go back to sleep and then I either have a continuation of the nightmare or another begins, I am exhausted. I moved from Arizona to the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life. I lost all my support systems and getting mental health, let alone good mental health therapy, is nearly nonexistent. Thank you for a response.
P.S. I use a weighted blanket and it helps very, very much. It makes me feel as if I am comforted, back in my mother's womb and safe again.

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@lindasmith1222 @ess77 My cat is my version of a weighted blanket. Almost always when I sit on the couch she comes to me and lays on my lap. At night, she lays across my legs and sleeps. The warmth and weight go a long way to helping me calm down. And on those nights when restlessness takes over, being able to feel her purr, and pet her soft fur does wonders for me. It is very comforting and somehow makes me feel more even, emotionally. When I am having a bad dream or my emotional state is fragile, she is right there, sensing a need to help me feel better.
Ginger

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