How do you deal with nightmares from PTSD

Side Effects of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder

If the post-traumatic complaints last longer than four weeks, one speaks of onepost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This happens in particular if the traumatizing experience was experienced as extremely threatening or if the person concerned had to cope with further traumas in the past. Occasionally it can also happen that the symptoms first appear a few weeks or even months after the traumatic experience.

You can watch and download a film by the Elfriede Dietrich Foundation and the DeGPT on the subject of "The Affected" free of charge here:

The following complaints are typical for post-traumatic stress disorder:

Reliving (intrusions)

Those affected often experience parts of the traumatic experience again and again - sometimes consciously, but sometimes also in the form of nightmares. The memories force themselves inadvertently, triggered by certain triggers, so-called "Trigger". Often those affected feel completely flooded by the memories and the associated unpleasant feelings and react as if they were back in the stressful situation. The experience of being able to exert little influence on one's own experience creates profound helplessness in many of those affected.

Reliving represents the brain's attempt to process the experiences that have been stored only fragmentarily and incoherently in the high stress of the trauma. So it is a physiological response of the body in an effort to heal itself. It can be a job of the Trauma therapybe to support this attempt by the body to process it by processing what has been experienced systematically and carefully. This enables the person affected to gradually build a distance from the stressful event, regain a feeling of security and control and finally to integrate what they have experienced into their own wealth of experience.


In order to avoid reliving, which is usually felt to be extremely stressful, those affected avoid any circumstances that could remind them of the traumatic event. Painful thoughts of what has happened are pushed away"Trigger" Avoiding as much as possible to talk about what has happened does not seem tolerable. Some people experience themselves emotionally "numb" and do not even let negative feelings get in their way.

The repression of what has been experienced in this way is an understandable, albeit mostly unhelpful, reaction. In many cases, avoidance behavior makes it more difficult to deal with the trauma spontaneously, and it is not uncommon for it to be accompanied by a gradual reduction in the personal radius of action, which over time can lead to considerable restrictions in everyday life.

Overexcitation (hyperarousal)

Other typical complaints are nervousness and restlessness, difficulty concentrating, increased vigilance, nervousness, irritability and sleep disorders. The reason for this is that the body continues to maintain a stress response even though there is no longer any real danger. The sympathetic nervous system remains activated and puts the organism on constant alert.

The symptoms of overexcitation are not only extremely uncomfortable for those affected, but also disrupt everyday functioning. Persistent nervousness and sleep disorders are perceived as grueling, and concentration disorders make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. Many affected people also experience themselves as extremely irritable and therefore constantly offend with their fellow human beings.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a regular occurrenceother typical complaintsaccompanies those affected and usually also their environment. Information on the most common accompanying complaints can be found here.

More information about PTSD

How can I contribute to a favorable processing of the trauma myself?

Literature on PTSD

Film for those affected

Media reports on PTSD

Where can I find a qualified trauma therapist?

Trauma therapist search