Friday, March 12, 2010
Ever have recurring bad nightmares? Well, according to a study completed by Barry Krakow in 2001 (published in The Journal of the American Medical Association), a practice called imagery-rehearsal therapy could be the answer to your grueling nightmarish problems.
Krakow took 168 women who were sexual assault victims who had recurring nightmares. Half of them were the control group who received no therapy. These women had continued repeating nightmares. The other half of the women received imagery-rehearsal therapy. After six months of this therapy, the majority of the women had significantly fewer recurring nightmares and their post traumatic stress disorder had lessened.
So what is this therapy then? Well, if a women has a recurring nightmare, the woman is to re-write the nightmare but ending it in any different way they wished. Then, women spent about 20 minutes each day envisioning this new ending. When visiting with doctors, these women would repeat the ending aloud with the doctor and even act it out in some cases.
For example, a person envisioned knives falling from the ceiling. To change this, not only did the person envision a different ending, but she changed the physical setting of her bedroom. She hung potted plants from the ceiling and envisioned leaves falling instead of knives. Or, a woman always saw herself at a concentration camp. Instead, she changd her dream to be at a summer camp. Small changes like this would transform the dreams from their scariness to something that is more pleasing and easier to accept. In most cases, it worked.
The article found in a November issue of The New Yorker (entitled "Nightmare Scenario" by Margaret Talbot) explains in great detail the many cases Krakow experienced. More data and facts were given arround the studies of dreams, nightmares, and treatments. What I found interesting was this new study to try to combat dreams. What do you think of them? Does it sound crazy or like something that you might try if you found yourself in the situation?
An opposer believes, "The technique--which is an intellectual cousin of cognitive-behavior therapy--is an insufficient approach, because it does not seek to get at the roots of the disorder it treats. In other words, nightmares may be the least of a patient's problems."
Some doctors prescribe Prazosin, which is said to stop the nightmares completely, but after taking the meds, the nightmares will come right back. Aren't we too drugged up enough anyway? Pills shouldn't always be the right answer!
But, many scientists are taking the view held by the leading dream researcher at the moment, G. William Domhoff which is to support the therapy. He believes this is an advancement, an effective technique, and that dreams center around some of our deepest concerns, so altering their narrative is an effective cure.
On a different note, here are some interesting facts about nightmares that come directly from the article:
-"Less than a quarter of chronic nightmare sufferers report that they are always awakened by their nightmares."
-Fear was the signal emotion in 70% of nightmares. In the remaining 30%, other emotions predominated: sadness, anger, frustration."
-"Between 8 and 30% of adults report that they have nightmares at least once a month. In the course of a lifetime, virtually everyone has them."
-"Nightmares are more common among children than adults and are more common among women than men."
-"The gender difference [as mentioned above] may be explained, in part, by the fact that women are better than men at remembering their dreams, and perhaps more willing to admit they have nightmares."
-"The most common scenario of a nightmare is to be pursued or attacked."
-"In a study published in 2000, when children were asked to attribute their bad dreams to a cause, they did frequently cite something they saw on TV. There is also evidence that dream villains and monsters evolve over time, in response to popular culture. Michael Schredl looked at several nightmare studies from the 20th century, and found that dreams of the bogeyman were common in the twenties; dreams of ghosts, devils, and witches reigned in the fifties and sixties; and those of movie villains dominated the nineties."
-"250 German children between the ages of 9 and 13 were questioned, and it was found that nightmares were not more frequent among the kids who watched more TV or played more video games. So, nightmares can influence nightmares but not necessarily create or increase them."
So what do you think about imagery-rehearsal therapy or any of the studies or statistics presented above?