Dreams and Nightmares: Where Do They Come From?

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The US National Library of Medicine defines a nightmare as, “a bad dream that brings out strong feelings of fear, terror, distress, or anxiety.” A dream, then, is a series of thoughts or images that happen during the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. Research has shown that the biggest amount of common adult dreams are in a category known as “pseudonightmarish” dreams, which is essentially any dream of being in trouble or in danger, being alone and/or trapped, something you don’t have control over (like losing your teeth), or facing natural forces. Dr. Ishaad Ebrahim is an MD, MRCPsych, and Neuropsychiatric Specialist in Sleep Disorders at the Constanta Sleep Centre. An MD is any type of medical doctor. An MRCPsych is a “Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.” A neuropsychologist specialist essentially has a scientific aspect and a medical aspect. Dr. Ebrahim believes that almost anyone is capable of having a nightmare during the REM stage of sleep. He said, “If we consider only attack dreams, which are one of the most common nightmare themes, the lifetime prevalence varies from 67% to 90%. Pursuit, a closely related, highly disturbing theme, has a lifetime prevalence of 92% among women and 85% among men.”

Types of Dreams Nightmares are classified into two main categories; recurrent and repetitive. Recurrent dreams show stress and/or conflicts through metaphors over a period of time. Typically, people with recurrent dreams have been shown to not adapt well

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