Most people do not frequently have nightmares. When looking at the public as a whole, for instance, those who complain about the influence of nightmares on their lives make up just about 5% of the total population. In another study, it came in at 3%. No matter how you look at it, it’s not that common.
Until, that is, you look at people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and who have been through some type of major trauma. These individuals have nightmares far more often. In the same study that found out that only 3% of civilians suffered from nightmares, the majority (52%) of combat vets who had PTSD claimed they experienced nightmares “fairly often.” Experts say there are 17 signs that someone has PTSD, and these frequent nightmares are one of them.
If anything, that study may have been low. Another study claimed that people with PTSD reported nightmares at anywhere from 71% to 96%. If people have other mental health issues that go along with their PTSD, like panic disorder, nightmares become even more likely than they are for people who just have PTSD.
Combat veterans get exposed to things that are traumatic and stressful. Even if they do not suffer physical injuries in combat, we cannot afford to overlook the impact this type of trauma has on their lives. It can leave them with mental and emotional scars that never heal.
For those who find themselves in this position after serving their country, it is very important to understand what legal rights they have, what steps they can take and what disorders are officially recognized.