Causes of nightmares

What are the causes of nightmares ? You wake up screaming in the middle of the night. It takes you a minute to realize that it was just a silly dream, a really scary one.

Heart racing. Ears pounding. Panting. Gasping. And wheezing. Cold sweat envelops your shaking frame. A nightmare is defined as a very disturbing dream that forces the dreamer to wake up with feelings of fright and anxiety. Because of its vivid imagery, it has a bigger impact upon the waking mind and stays with the dreamer throughout the day.

Most children commonly have nightmares, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7 to 8. While nightmares among adults are also fairly common.

Causes of Nightmare

Causes of nightmares are varied. It is an indication of fears that need to be addressed and dealt with. It may be showing you the things that trouble you from deep within. This may include:

Childhood and Family

Research indicates that most people who have regular nightmares had a history of psychiatric problems, past neglect and trauma from childhood, drug problems, alcoholism and severe abuse.

Everyday Life

Your perception of the world in general overwhelms you and frustrates you by your apparent inability to control particular events. This includes natural calamities and catastrophes, crime, terrorism and accidents.


Suspicions about intimate relationships and paranoia about how people see you can be causes of nightmares. Its prevalent themes include isolation and loneliness.

Drugs or Medication

Most dangerous drugs have substances that alter the brain functions resulting to hallucinations, delirium, fantasies, or nightmares.


People who are inflicted with mental illnesses are prone to behavioral transformations and attitude alterations. Their illness severely affects their normal, everyday waking and even their sleeping state during which they commonly experience nightmares.

Post Traumatic Stress

Past traumatic experiences like war, rape, death, surgery, assault, accident, etc. are frequent causes of nighmares.

Having nightmares is normal. In fact, many people reported that they are not really disturbed by their nightmares. They just dismiss them as “just dreams.” But sometimes recurrent nightmares associated with intense stress or emotional conflict should be dealt with in consultation with a physician or therapist.

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