Dreams, according to the Webster Dictionary, are a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during the state of unconsciousness (sleep). In this essay, one will come to understand what dreams are, how they can be linked to medical illnesses, why we dream and, what nightmares are.
What are Dreams?
Long before any relevant studies were made, people believed that dreams were a sort of communication passageway between the Earth and the world of the gods. In fact, the Greeks and Romans both believed that dreams contained powers to a prophecy of some sort. It was not until the end of the 19th century that modern investigations for dreams began by Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that dreams allowed one to sort problematic or repressed wishes. Whereas, Carl Jung, one of the many students who studied under Freud, thought that dreams held important information that the sleeper did not recognized but, needed in order to understand and intertwine with their consciousness.
Due to the advancement of technology, it allowed other scientists to develop different theories. For example, according to Sander van der Linden in “The Science Behind Dreaming”, one neurobiological theory of dreaming is known as the activation-synthesis hypothesis to specify, it means that the dreams one has do not actually mean anything. Instead, the activation-synthesis hypothesis "are merely electrical brain impulses that pull random thoughts and imagery from our memories." To summarize, due to all the theories of what dreaming is, the only definite definition is that dreams are a just suppressed memories or images.
Dreams and Illness
In Mark Katz passage "Dreams and Medical Illness" the author states that since lo...
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...ually very disturbing and often take place in REM sleep, where most dreams already occur. WebMD states that, while nightmares are seen more in children, “one out of every two adults have nightmares on occasion. And between 2% and 8% of the adult population is plagued by nightmares”.
Nightmares in adults usually come out of nowhere, but can also be caused by many factors and hidden disorders. Even some medications are also known to contribute to the terrors of nightmares by acting on chemicals in the brain. For example, according to WebMD, antidepressants and narcotics are know to be linked with nightmare terrors.
Another contributor to adult nightmare terrors are psychological issues. For instance, “anxiety and depression can cause adult nightmares. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also commonly causes people to experience chronic, recurrent nightmares”.
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