Thursday, 29 March 2012
'Bad Dreams' boost impatient numbers as admissions soar
Economic pressure, increasing energy bills and colder winters are taking their toll on the average Briton, as new figures released today saw an increase in admissions for the public suffering from nightmares.
Statistics released by the NHS Hospital Episode Statistics website report a steady increase in the number of people being treated for health and physical complications, all from the effects of Nightmares, over the last five years.
In 2010/11, 34 people consulted doctors for treatment in England - a 50% increase in admissions when compared to 23 cases in 2005/06.
The results, linked to the current financial concerns facing the British public, also show an increase in emergency cases. In 2009/10, 10 emergency cases were seen to by doctors. The figure has since risen by 20%, to 12 cases this year.
According to the mental health charity Mind, emotional difficulties, including anxiety and depression, are just one of the many factors that can disrupt your sleeping pattern and cause nightmares.
A nightmare is described by many as an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong negative emotional response, is usually common in children, and less frequent by adults, with many nightmares occurring irregularly - despite the latest research suggesting the mean age of those admitted as being 46. Nightmares are just one of the many symptoms of sleeping disorders, which also include narcolepsy and sleep terror disorder.
However, experts warned that recurrent nightmares, which can interfere with sleeping patterns and cause insomnia, may require medical help.
Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett, writing in her book ‘Trauma and Dreams’, cites imagery rehearsal therapy as a possible treatment for patients suffering from nightmares. She said: “Imagery rehearsal therapy involves the dreamer coming up with an alternative, mastery outcome to the nightmare.”
“Mentally rehearsing that outcome awake, and then reminding themselves at bedtime that they wish this alternative outcome, should the nightmare recur,” she added.
Other cures and treatment include; counselling, the practise of good sleep and talking to friends and family. Ins serious cases, treatment can include tests on blood cells, liver function and thyroid function, as well as the undertaking of an EEG - the process of measuring brain waves by placing electrodes on the head.
Volunteers from Mind, marking depression awareness week - one of the main factors associated with nightmares - explained that nightmares can be linked to wider mental and physical issues. One volunteer, who suffered from depression, said: “Nightmares and this numb nothingness characterised my seven months on antidepressants.
Karine, 22, also suffered from depression that later escalated into sleep problems, including nightmares. Writing on the Insomniacs expert website, she said: “I just found that I couldn’t get to sleep at night.”
Karine, who also admitted that her doctor failed to take the question seriously, advised other people to: “get on with things as normal as possible”, adding, “try not to worry, because sometimes it does get better.”
If you suffer from nightmares more than once a week, if nightmares stop you from having a good night’s rest or if they keep you from doing daily activities for a long period of time, experts advice that you should contact your health care provider.
In other news, the statistics also uncovered an increase in the waiting time for patients. An average waiting time of 2.5 hours this year, compared to just 2.2 recorded last year, providing another blow to the radical NHS plans, unveiled by the Government earlier this year.