Sleep disorders

Acting out dreams can signal a serious disorder

Dreams are excursions of our central nervous system, unfolding when the body is at rest, but our brains are in thrall to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. For people with a rare condition, their whole body acts out the dream, ...

Pediatrics

How to calm your child after a nightmare

Most parents have experienced it: Your young child wakes up distraught, sure that the nightmare they've just suffered through is real.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less frequent and more enduring than the more commonly seen acute stress response. Diagnostic symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal—such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hypervigilance. Formal diagnostic criteria (both DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10) require that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

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