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Are Suicidal Thoughts Connected to Nightmares?


Dreams have always been a profound way of our minds reacting to certain emotions or stressors in our environment, as well as a unique way to experience a different form of reality.  For many people, we do not have a way to control what we dream about, and often cannot control the outcome of these dreams.  There are, however, methods that one can learn in order to help alleviate certain negative aspects of dreams that come in the guise of nightmares.  Some of these methods can range from building emotional intelligence over time, to avoiding any particular stressors that could potentially trigger these bad dreams.

Nightmares are described by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “a frightening dream that usually awakens the sleeper”.  Nearly every individual under the sun has experienced a frightening dream in their lifetime, especially as a younger child.  Children have a far more difficult time dealing with the repercussions of a nightmare; we all remember waking from a bad dream and rushing to our parent’s bedroom in the middle of the night for comfort and to drive away the lingering thoughts.  It has been thought a more “natural” occurrence than anything else in daily lives of men, women and children.

However, a recent study has highlighted a disturbing relationship between the occurrence of nightmares and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially amongst juveniles and children.

PTSD symptoms are increasing the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior; nightmares are a direct link to an increase in symptoms of PTSD, and can be targeted for treatment in order to help reduce the risk of suicide.  With a specific targeted plan to help eliminate, counsel and immerse in therapy for severe PTSD symptoms when it comes to dealing with nightmares, a quality therapeutic system can help reduce these instances.

When we talk about suicidal ideation, it is generally a thought process that focuses on how to kill oneself, and can come in different forms ranging from fully-developed plans to passing or momentary suicidal feelings; but ultimately they choose not to take their own life. The issue with this is that as this continually happens, the emotions and challenges will continue to grow without receiving help, and there may come a time where the individual decides to finally go through with ending their life.

In the United States, there are around 30,000 completed suicides each year.  80% of these suicides are among males, and it is the third leading cause of death from the 15 to 24 year old age bracket.  20% of the total number of suicides come from this age group, which means that the pervasiveness of dreams, PTSD and depression and suicide are symptoms that should not be ignored in the slightest.

Now as we start to understand how significant these problems can be, the links between dreams and suicide and suicidal ideation, we also need to be able to pinpoint the warning signs of someone who is struggling with potential suicidal behavior and thoughts. Some of the more common symptoms may appear as:

  • Feelings of hopelessness or of feeling trapped
  • Significant changes in one’s mood or being very moody
  • A change in one’s sleeping patterns and not even being able to effectively experience sleep
  • Experiencing significant anxiety
  • Getting involved in risky behavior, whether sexual or in regards to getting involved with other chemicals or drugs
  • Feelings that are abnormal when it comes to thinking of death, dying or violence
  • Having panic attacks
  • An increase in isolation, especially a withdrawal from family or friends that one considered close
  • An increase in self-criticism
  • Not being able to experience normal pleasure from life events or experiences that are often considered pleasurable, such as sex, eating, social interaction or exercise
  • Expressing regret over having been born or even being alive, coupled with talking about killing oneself.

These are all signs that an individual would be suffering from significant suicidal thoughts and/or depression. Nightmares that occur are usually able to evoke certain emotions that can cause suicidal behavior, such as an increase in terror, anxiety and so forth. In fact, a nightmare disorder that appears and continues within 3 months after a traumatic event can cause significant issues in one’s personal life. This usually occurs with 80% of patients who are suffering from PTSD, and if left untreated, these types of dreams and symptoms can likely remain for life.

The good news is that there is specific therapy that can help minimize and reduce PTSD symptoms, the recurrence of nightmares and other symptoms that come with these particular occurrences. A quality mental health facility will be able to help one overcome these nightmares, address suicidal thoughts and behavior and focus on an intensive course of therapy, analysis and training so that any man or woman who is suffering from nightmares will be able to greatly reduce their stress, depression and emotions in order to get to the root of the problem.

If you have any concerns, questions or have serious concerns about the well-being of your child and their particular mental or behavioral health issues, we urge you to contact us 24/7 at 855-537-2262 so that we can help you face these challenges.


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