11/4/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Ghoulish figures, demonic clowns, man-eating zombies and vampires. There was enough frightening stuff out there this Halloween that even the most fearless may have been spooked this year. So which of these nightmares are still keeping you up at night?
For some individuals out there, Halloween was not their only nightmare of the year. As many as 25 percent of the adult population will wake up after an intense and fearful vision brings them out of their rest. In fact, almost three percent of adults were reported to have nightmares frequently to always, based on the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR."
The Wilford Hall Clinical Health Psychology Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, which specializes in behavioral sleep medicine, defines a nightmare as a frightening and complex dream that may lead to being awakened from sleep. These dreams are often a lengthy, elaborate dream sequence that is highly anxiety-provoking or terrifying. They may also become a beneficial habit after a traumatic event that leads to post-traumatic stress disorder and a way of processing the event. After time, these nightmares actually are reduced to being just a bad habit and involve the individual reliving the traumatic event multiple times over again.
"Many people do not realize that frequent nightmares may be able to be treated at one of our behavioral sleep clinics," said Capt. (Dr.) JoLyn Tatum, a Wilford Hall Clinical Health Psychology Center fellow. "We treat nightmares as a behavioral problem and use a form of treatment called 'imagery rehearsal therapy' in our 'Nightmare Class' offered at the clinic."
The Nightmare Class was developed from the studies of Dr. Barry Krakow, the Maimonides International Nightmare Treatment founder and a board certified sleep disorders specialist.
Dr. Krakow developed the technique of imagery rehearsal therapy, which basically consists of educating the individual on how to change the frightening imagery through techniques of rescripting the nightmare.