If I am having nightmares after return from deployment, do I have PTSD?

Nightmares and insomnia are not uncommon in veterans and recently returned service members. In the general population, about 5% of people report having frequent nightmares. Nightmares are thought to be reactions to stress in waking life, and can also occur in response to trauma. Nightmares are also one of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One study of Vietnam veterans with PTSD and sleep disorders showed that 52% of the veterans had frequent nightmares, compared to only 3% of the civilians in the control group. If your nightmares are the result of trauma, you will often see elements of the traumatic event in the nightmares. Trauma nightmares usually occur at different points in the sleep pattern than ordinary nightmares (for example, in stages of lighter sleep instead of deep REM sleep).

They may involve physical movement as well. If your nightmares match this description, you should request a PTSD screening from a mental health professional to determine if you are suffering from the disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.