Published on 23 June 2023

Medication For Nightmares?- A Cure For Nightmares

Dream Psychology Medication-For-Nightmares
Table of Contents

Nightmares are one of the most experienced by people worldwide. Mostly 50% to 80% of people experience occasional nightmares. As you grow older, people tend to experience frequent nightmares compared to adults. Also, when you compare with men, women experience a lot of nightmares. 

Many people experience nightmares or vivid dreams mainly because of stress and anxiety. This also affects your day-to-day life. If you have been experiencing nightmares severely, you should treat them with natural therapies or doctor's medications.

Let us find out different medications that are available for the treatment of nightmares. But before getting the medicine, you should talk to the doctor about dosages and which drug is suitable for your condition. 

What Are Nightmares Disorders?

When a person faces a problem repeatedly turns into a disorder. Nightmares can become a disorder when you often face frightening or vivid dreams. These nightmare disorders can be for a short duration, or they can be chronic. You can treat nightmare disorders with various techniques, such as medications and therapies.

Nightmares disorders have different types, wherein Parasomnia is one type. Nightmares disorders range differently:

  • Mild: In a week, one nightmare is possible 
  • Moderate: one to three nightmares in a week
  • Severe: Experiencing everyday nightmares

The time varies according to the severity of the nightmares

  • Acute nightmares: It lasts for one month
  • Moderate Nightmares: They can last more than one month and less than six months.
  • Chronic Nightmares: They can be prolonged to more than six months. 

Nightmares occur during REM (Rapid eye movement) when the person sleeps deeply. People remember things they dreamt of after waking up in nightmares disorder. This condition affects your life by causing anxiety and depression. 

Who Gets Affected By Nightmare Disorder?

There is no age rule for Nightmare Disorder; It can affect children and adults. Mostly Nightmare Disorder is affected by people who face conditions such as:

  • Narcolepsy
  • REM behavior disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Periodic limb movement disorder

People affected by anxiety and depression are more likely to suffer from a nightmare disorder, and 50% to 90% of people with PTSD

Symptoms Of Nightmares Disorder

When Nightmares cause you frequently and affect your daily life, it is when you suffer from Nightmare disorders. If you feel the below symptoms, you should consult a therapist or a doctor.

Common Theme Threats

Physical Symptoms,

Experience Emotions,




Physical Well-being

Fast heart beats







These are a few of the physical and emotional phases you can go through. Also, you can go through other conditions if you face nightmares disorder. 

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep Resistance
  • Difficulty in concentrating.
  • Hypersomnia
  • Behavioral issues.

For overall health, sleep is an essential factor for every person. If you feel nightmares more often, it is suggested that you consult a doctor. 

What Causes Nightmares Disorder?

The actual cause of one suffering from nightmares is still under research. Even after learning a lot about sleep, nightmares, and dreams, there is still more to learn. Researchers have different theories about why nightmares occur. 

One theory states that nightmares disorder causes due to the increased hyperarousal (mood-altering symptom) that remains at night and starts to build during the day. This involves different emotions, such as anger, irritation, and paranoia. It is a symptom of insomnia and PTSD. When your mood alters while sleeping, your brain's certain part gets overactive, and you start to experience nightmares.

How Can You Diagnose Nightmares Disorders?

There are no such tests one doctor can do for nightmare Disorders. Instead, they will listen to all the nightmares and ask you questions about your medications and other conditions you have been suffering. 

Various medicines cause nightmare disorders. So if you are facing nightmares disorders severely, your doctor might revise your medications.

Medicines that cause nightmares are as follows:

  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Nicotine

If you misuse or abuse any of the drugs, it can cause nightmare disorders.

Treat Nightmare Disorders

Whenever you consult a doctor about Nightmares disorders, you will be suggested to take Medications with a combination of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is used with a combination of drugs, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes Exposure, relaxation, rescripting therapy, and Imagery Rehearsal therapy( IRT). 

Psychotherapy includes a few components that should be followed:

  • Keeping track of sleep-wake cycles
  • Keeping track of nightmares frequency with severity.
  • Learning and knowing about the nature of nightmares
  • Practicing various skills that cause nightmares leads to overcoming severity and occurrence.

Medicines To Treat Nightmares

Different types of medicines are available that lower nightmares disorders associated with PTSD. Before getting one, you should take a doctor's prescription and know the drug in detail.


Trazodone is one of the most used drugs for treating depression. You can get this drug in its generic version Desyrel. As the drug contains sedative properties, it is recommended as an off-label for treating nightmares. Trazodone helps to produce better sleep quality and lower nightmares frequencies. The drug should be guided by a medical practitioner and not by self.


Prazosin is mainly used for the nightmares associated with PTSD. You can get this drug under its brand name Minipress. Both drugs work the same, but there are variations in inactive services. At first, it was used for high blood pressure, but it has been shown that Drug-lowered nightmares. It is prescribed as an off-label use. It works directly in the brain, which helps in treating nightmares. 


The primary purpose of using Clonidine is to lower blood pressure, also termed an antihypertensive drug. You can get this drug under its brand name Kapvay. Clonidine is used for Nightmares as an off-label drug.

It works so perfectly with the body that within a few days, you can see the changes in the intensity and occurrence of nightmares. The prescription should be only taken from a medical doctor and know about the medicine in detail. 


Fluvoxamine belongs to the drug class of SSRIs used for treating depression, anxiety, and mood-related conditions. It is available under its brand name Luvox. This drug is prescribed for off-label use by people who have been associated with PTSD. With increased serotonin, nightmares are reduced by using Fluvoxamine. Before taking the medicine, you should consult a medical practitioner.


The primary purpose of using Gabapentin is to treat conditions like epilepsy and other neuropathic pain. You can get this drug in its different brand versions, Neurontin and Gralise. Gabapentin has shown positive results in treating nightmares as an off-label drug.

This drug has the potential to keep you sleepy and away from anxiety. It lowers the nightmare's intensity and occurrence. Get help from a medical doctor for a Gabapentin prescription.


The main usage of Olanzapine is to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. You can get its brand version Zyprexa. Olanzapine is given as an off-label drug for treating nightmares, especially for people who have PTSD. Once the sedating properties are produced, it lowers the frequency of intense nightmares. It is mandatory to talk to your doctor before you take the medication.


Risperidone treats bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and various behavioral conditions. You can get this drug under its brand name Risperdal. Risperidone can treat nightmares as an off-label drug. The calming effects of the medication help the person get a peaceful sleep. Whenever you opt for this drug, you should first consult a doctor. 


Topiramate is best for treating migraine and epilepsy. When a person goes through nightmares, Topiramate is used as an off-label drug. You can get this drug under its brand name Topamax. This drug produces and changes the effects of mood and sleep. It is better to consult a medical practitioner for drug usage.

How Long Does Nightmares Disorder Cure?

Nightmare disorder can be cured according to the person's severity. The time of curing the disorder varies. For a few people, nightmares can be fixed without any procedure, but some may need medication plus therapies. 

If the nightmare disorder is not treated at the correct time, it can increase. The person can face the risk of suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide. This is why sleep is crucial for you and your overall health. You should consult a doctor if the nightmares reoccur every time.

Also, Read

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Nightmares are commonly experienced by people worldwide. Many people also get affected by nightmares disorders. To get this treated, you need to get medications with a combination of therapies from a doctor or a therapist. 

These combinations can work very well and help you out from the nightmares. Before getting any medication to treat nightmares disorders, contact the medical practitioner.

Frequently asked questions

No, Nightmares disorder can be affected by any person, not just those with PTSD.
80% to 90% of people suffer from nightmares, as it is common within people to experience.
People who are between three to six years experience most nightmares.
Most people experience nightmares in the middle of the night or early morning. It depends on the mental health and REM sleep.
It happens when a person is experiencing nightmares regularly. You should consult a doctor for the treatment.