Multi-component treatment for posttraumatic nightmares in Vietnam veterans: two case studies

J Psychiatr Pract. 2010 Jul;16(4):243-9. doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000386910.31817.b5.


Posttraumatic nightmares (PTNMs) are trauma-related distressing dreams that cause a person to wake up. PTNMs can be a devastating addition to the clinical picture of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because they can result in increased levels of PTSD symptoms and overall distress and decreased sleep; they are also often resistant to typical PTSD treatments. While specialized treatments have been developed and empirically examined in the civilian population, these treatments have not been thoroughly explored with the Veteran population, despite the fact that 50%-88% of Vietnam Veterans experience chronic PTNMs. This article presents two case reports involving Vietnam Veterans. These reports describe the initial investigation of a variant of a treatment that has been successful in treating chronic PTNMs in the civilian population and has been modified to meet the needs of the Veteran population. Analyses revealed that both Veterans reported moderate reductions in sleep disturbances over the course of treatment, as well as clinically significant reductions in PTSD and depressive symptoms across assessments. These preliminary findings provide encouraging data that warrant further study. Limitations and future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Implosive Therapy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veterans / psychology*