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Avatar universal

Why can't I stop dreaming?!

Here is some history: I'm 24, I have Anxiety/Panic disorder. I have been taking Effexor XR since April, and it seems to help with my symptoms. I also take Xanax as needed for panic attacks. This also helps. However, I have not been able to have one night's sleep without dreaming in 8 months! I told my psychiatrist, and she prescribed Ambian, which helped me fall asleep fast, but I still had dreams all night. Then she suggested taking the Xanax every night, starting with .5 mg. When that didn't work, she told me to try 2. Nothing helps. I dream all night long. Nightmares, stupid dreams, ex-boyfriend dreams, vacation dreams, high school dreams, etc. All freakin' night! I wake up in the morning feeling like my brain hasn't rested! It is getting really annoying. This happened to me a few years back when I was first diagnosed with Anxiety/Panic disorder. But it went away after about a month. This has been 8 months now!!! Does ANYONE out there know what is causing this and if there is some kind of medication out there that would help this?
101 Responses
Avatar universal
we all dream every night... at least 4-5 of them at approx.90 min. intervals.sometimes people do not recall their dreams because of an illness, overly tired, certain meds., disinterest, repression.. dreams are doors to your unconscious. its just a matter if you are open to recalling them or not. dreams allow us to know ourselves a lot better, they are the real self, they convey messages (lots of them). if you can learn to interpret your dreams and apply what you have learned, they can give guidance and be a powerful tool for personal growth. i could go on forever about dreams and i love to analyze them. my friends are always asking me, ok, i had this dream about..what does that mean? i think the fact that you are aware you have been dreaming and just by talking about them is going to encourage more of them.

keep dreaming!!!
Avatar universal
I used to be a great dreamer.  Like going to the movies every night.  I could even wake from a dream and go back into it.  I don't dream like I used to, but pretty close.  Sounds like you might not be getting enough deep sleep.  I know that depending on a sleep aid is not the best thing, but maybe for the short term it might be okay.  Talk with your doctor.  My sister takes Lunesta, and it does the job.  It's new on the market.  But, beware, take it lying in bed.  She fell asleep one night sitting in a chair with her laptop on her knees.  Didn't move an inch, and her thighs were quite hot from the computer.  The stuff works very quick.  The big negative to this medicine is the after taste it leaves in your mouth the next morning.  But she takes it when she needs a good night's sleep.  I hope you get a good night's sleep soon...
Avatar universal
At least 2 to 4 times a week I have horrible nightmares. My boyfriend has to literally shake me awake. If I scream in my dream then I scream in real life. I don't have any trouble falling asleep I just seem to have terrible dreams. Sometimes I wake up and I am soaked in sweat. One night i was screaming and tossing and turning and in my dream something had grabbed my side and squeezed really hard and I woke up and it actually hurt there and I accused my boyfriend of doing it trying to wake me but he denied it.(maybe pain just in my head I dunno)

I have been thinking of going to see someone to see about taking something, but it's my unconscious mind at work so my question is, is there something to control that?

Any suggestions?
Avatar universal
It seems that I wake up after every dream. If I don't get up and go to the bathroom, I go back to sleep and continue the dream.My last dream will always be about going to work at a new place and not being trained or really messing up. I'm unemployed, so I guess that it's a guilt thing.I take Valium, but it doesn't give me a good night's sleep and I think that it causes weird dreams.
I'm also takimg med for hypothyroid. Hard to find a good night's sleep adding that to the mix. Take care.
Cat
Avatar universal
I have dreams about my husband.We don't even sleep in the same room anymore.We basically stay together for financial reasons.If I could get out of this marriage, I'm sure that my husband dreams would go away. Take care.
Cat
Avatar universal
The Effexor. I take it, (Effexor-XR, 300 mg), too. I think it says on the side effects thingy "may cause abnormal dreams that should subside after prolonged use" or something pharmaceutical to that effect. I didn't remember my dreams but once in a while before taking this med., now I can remember at least one a night on average--for 2 1/2 years. Usually they are normal, just about my day but VERY vivid. I dreamt a conversation with a coworker that I had been meaning to have the other day, and had to ask her if I had already had the conversation with her or not! Sometimes they are bizarre, though not usually scary but the brain does interesting things with processing info while you sleep and with the anxety component, that may have something to do with your nightmares. But I would bet money and a lot of it that it's the Effexor. My doctor gave me a vague answer when I asked about it but I have heard this often from other people on the types of antidepressant that Effexor is.
Avatar universal
Thanks all for your comments! Graystreet, I think you're on to something with the Effexor. Although, I THINK I started dreaming like this BEFORE I was on it. I can't remember anymore. But I also sometimes can't tell if something really happened, or if I dreamed it! While I don't mind remembering my dreams once in awhile, this is really starting to ruin my daily life! I also fall asleep right away, but it's like I can't get passed that REM sleep. I wake up EXHAUSTED, like I haven't ever fallen asleep. And if I talk about someone during the day, I dream about them all night. If I have a bad day at work, I dream about it. I'll even dream I'm still working at places I haven't worked at in years. It's so weird! I'm getting so sick of it. I can't even take a 1/2 hour cat nap without dreaming very vividly!
Avatar universal
dreams is stuff you think sbout subconciously you dont even realize you think about these things because there in your subconcious thoughts hope its some kind of help
Avatar universal
I haven't ever dreamt since my prepubescent days. I am 52 now and have been bipolar for years. I take multiple medications and was having dream-less sleep(ah, I miss it) until my dose of Seroquel was adjusted to 300mg in the morning and 700mg at night.  I think this dosage is correct, but I'm tired of dreaming. Any
feedback would be greatly appreciated.


                                                                     The Wolf
Avatar universal
A few years ago i was on high blood pressue meds for about 7 months without having high blood pressure. I tensed up when the doctor took my pressure that gave a high reading. After 6 months  with severe side effects resulted in an anxiety disorder caused by fear of the unknown. About 3 months in i started dreaming every night. This has been going on for the last four years and i cannot stop the dreaming. There is one way that worked for me that i do not understood. Whenever i get a headache i take advil pain reliver. I fall into a deep sleep without dreaming. This works but if you took this nightly you will be soon hooked on pain killers. I think this medication relaxes the nervous system to the point where it is not on high alert. You fall into a deep sleep. I also read that the only way to remember dreams is if you awake during rem sleep. Maybe the nervous system is so hightened that dreaming is enough to wake you during the hightened state of rem sleep. These are all just theories i came up with during my research. Most professionals just tell me dreaming is normal. I say yes but not everyday for years on end. If anyone has an answer please let me know. Thanks.  
Avatar universal
Wow! It's interesting to read everyoneone's comments, at least I know I'm not alone. As someone diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II, I take Effexor and have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and also take Xanax but frankly I feel I have dreamed vividly for years before taking these medications. Usually I'm okay with the vivid dreams but now and then they seem problematic because I am very tired when I awaken and carry the "dream residue" throughout the day. Plus, I don't seem to get a break from the dreaming so sometimes I feel I never sleep but am always living various lives. My psychiatrist and general practioner don't seem to feel it is a problem, but rather a side effect, that i must accept along with the good of the medicine. Perhaps so. I appreciate others sharing their comments. I think one day, more will be revealed.


Lucille.
Avatar universal
I agree with your doctors.  Dreaming is a fact of life and I think that those of us who maybe more sensitive than others,  dream more.  While some dreams can be disturbing, they must be regarded as the brain clearing up all the random thoughts of the day and trying to make sense of them at the same time. Its a function of the brain and should be regarded as such. Meaningless trivia.
Avatar universal
Hey , I noticed the same thing when I took a tylenol 3-4 times for a headache and got some deep sleep with no dreaming although I dont recommend it to anyone.I started dreaming nonstop everynight since 4-5 years ago am currently seeing a pschiatrist who stated it was normal but I disagree cause I didnt before and now I wake up so tired mentally and physically.Ive tried the assortment of sleep aids both perscription and herbal they just get me drowsy but the dreaming is still there (bad quality of sleep).Ive also seen a neurologist and he stated it might be a chemical imbalance. Ive also had lots of blood work done that came back normal too and am currently on meds for anxiety,depression although the dreaming was there before the meds mind you although I did have some rootcanals /dental work done right before the dreaming started I wonder if theres any relation?Anybody else have any dental work done or surgeries Prior to the dreaming state?Has anyone seen a holistic healer or witch to ask them what causes this?Hey you have to try all avenues.I use to only need 5 -7 hours sleep tops but it was good sleep, miss those days.
Avatar universal
I used to take effexor xr for generalized anxiety disorder and I have had dreams like this before, during, and after...  i can think of a handful of times i have gone for a bit without recalling my dreams.  i have studied dreams as a psychologist and interestingly have never made this connection.  i literally am so sick of my dreams that i googled "how to stop dreaming" and came across this blog.  i think it is more to do with anxiety than the meds.  especially when you read all of these entries, that seems to be the one thing we all have in common...high anxiety.  I can relate to the ruining of ones life because currently what i dream about is all i can think about during the day and just when i finally get my mind off it...i wake up in the middle of the night wanting to cry (or worse) because i am so upset from my dreams.  i want to keep  my mind right and positive in a particular situation, trust my heart, but my head keeps interferring and making this compulsive replaying of my memories lose grasp on reality and the sub conscious fears.  
Avatar universal
i am 39 yrs old and have been having nightmares EVERY night for the past 23 yrs. i have been to several sleep clinics, taken too many prescribed medications to mention and have been to psychologist/psyciatrists and the list goes on. nothing has ever helped me get rid of the nightmares. it's very aggravating to have medical professionals tell you that dreaming is normal but have no real answers for nightmares.  i'm sure it is normal for people to dream every night but to have nightmares every night is entirely different.  i would pay anything to have just one nights sleep without nightmares. i have recently been prescribed Seroquel and started at 25mg and have just started 100mg. the only result of taking the medication is a more vivid nightmare experience!  i have heard every suggestion listed in the prior comment before, believe me. any new suggestions will would be GREAT!!!!
Avatar universal
I am 29 yrs old and feel like I am crazy. I recently broke up with my boyfriend, who has moved on very quickly. I have had non-stop nightmares and dreams which wake me up about every hour or so. I am on the anxiety/depression med. Lexapro and I am seeing a therapist which help control the emotional rollercoaster. But these nightmares are preventing me to move on because I can't get him out of my head. It literally consumes my whole day because I am not getting enough deep sleep and all I am thinking about is how horrible my dreams are. I really don't know what to do . . . I am afraid if these last much longer that I am going to go crazy. My friends and family are already seeing the negative change in me and they don't understand what I am going through. I feel so distant from everything and everyone. I really want my life back without these nightmares. Can anyone help!?

Desperately looking for answers. . . .
Avatar universal
I've had similar experiences for years now. I also have an anxiety disorder and I dream nonstop every single night and wake up feeling exhausted and sore, like I've been working out all night or something. The only thing I've found that helps this is to clear my mind right before I go to sleep. My therapist taught me a great relaxation exercise that helps me get to sleep. It's called progressive muscle relaxation. Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_relaxation
You might want to ask your therapist about relaxation techniques and such. I found that it really helps me when I'm feeling especially anxious and my anxiety overall isn't as bad as it used to be.

Also, try not to dwell on the negative and find positive things in your life to focus on. I find that focusing on something nice right before I go to bed gives me better dreams. They're still dreams but at least they're not nightmares.

Just know that you aren't alone, people go through this kinda thing everyday. I've been dealing with this for a long time, and am doing just fine these days. Once you learn how to cope with it, it gets a lot better. Hope I've helped and hope things get better for you.
Avatar universal
It most definitely seems like anxiety has a lot to do with this dreaming issue we're all sharing. Like a few of you have stated, I also remember having this "over dreaming" problem before the medication and the anxiety, which begs the question 'is this possibly a reason for the anxiety?' I couldn't really believe when after 100's of tests my doctor told me I had anxiety, and sent me to a psychiatrist (which has been a really good thing i must admit), but i've never really been depressed or anxious as far as I can remember, and then about 3 years ago I had an attack. I think that maybe after an extended period of bad sleep, maybe anxiety develops due to the lethargy that comes from this somehow.
It seems really odd that doctors and psychiatrists have not looked into this further, as clearly there are quite a few people out there going through this.
Anyway, sorry I couldn't post a cure for you all, but I thought i would give my 2 cents, and give a big thanks for starting this post, as it does help to know i'm not alone with this.

Cheers all.
Avatar universal
i dream about 80% in my life and out of all this dreams i see things, i hear people who are in need and i even have dreams about my relatives who were long gone, i have mightmares about 40% of my dreams i even scream in real life when something went wrong, i tell myself its just a dream. about four weeks ago i experience a very unexpected thing whatever you call it, i see things in my dream and when i woke up its happeing at the same time, i was always alone in my inlaws house and i started to see things i dont want to be seen, i tell my husband about it and he said its probably b-cuz im scared too much or something, so yeah i have weird dreams and i eevn dream about things that were happeing later on in our family and i ask myself the same question why me? sometimes i thought maybe i have some kind of connection with the dead but i dont wanna think of it that way, have you even wonder what if things come to life? like toys and stuff like that! i dream about it and i woke up feeling a little sick and see everything in our house gathering right around me, i have never been so scared in all my life, i've seen things but not this worst. my husband was going to have the bishop talk to me and see if he can help wiht my problems but i didnt want it to happen i was scared what if this is gonna make things obvious to my dead friends and make them come to me more often? so yeah thats how i think about it, but yeah the point is dreams are messages to us, they tell us things and all we need to do is listen and hear it, im kinda getting used to it now and its never going away, maybe i just needed to do something about it but i think that my dreams are trying to make me see the real person i am. we all dream and we all have different ways of receiving our messeges so yeah i hope non of you is experiencing the same thing i am going through, to whoever who posted this question! you should feel lucky to have dreams and not a nightmare, i hope you can find  a cure cuz obviously mine will stay with me for a long long time.
Avatar universal
I have had a dream disorder for 6 years now.  Every single time I sleep I wake up in the dream stage.  I have also heard how great it is to dream but it is ruining my life!!  I have not had ONE rested night of sleep in 6 years.  The dreams are not nightmares just about whatever, no rhyme or reason.  I have been tested for every medical thing possible and tried so many medications and nothing has helped.  If anyone ever hears of a solution for this please let me know.
Avatar universal
Have hope. There is a solution.
Here’s my story, in case it helps anyone:  I too have an anxiety disorder (GAD) and for most of my life have woken up in dream-sleep - still tired - every time I wake up (no matter how long I've slept).  But, during a brief, blissful period when I was seeing a highly-rated psychiatrist, who focused solely on cognitive-behavioral therapy, I was able to wake up feeling rested and energized - even after only 5-6 hours of nightly sleep (as opposed to my usual 8-9 hours, which I wake up from feeling as though I haven't slept at all, and which I'm reluctant to wake up from because I feel as though I still have things to resolve/problems to solve in my dreams- problems that are mostly fictional, which have never, and never do, materialize in my "real" waking life.) Also during this period when I was getting the best sleep of my life (which also happened to be a very stressful time in my life), I remember feeling more focused and productive than ever (i.e. while I usually feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get done what needs to be done - let alone things I’d actually enjoy doing, during this time, I felt as though there was plenty of time for everything - and I truly did accomplish a lot).  I told my psychiatrist about the wonderful changes, which I found remarkable for the following reasons: (1) I was being treated for anxiety, not sleep problems - problems I had never mentioned to my psychiatrist (because, at the time, I didn’t realize they were problems; I thought that’s what happened to everyone when they slept); (2) these changes occurred very early on in my treatment (after only 3 or 4 sessions/about 2-3 weeks into treatment); and (3) my treatment had “only” consisted of breathing exercises and muscle-relaxation exercises, combined with talks with my psychiatrist (with the exception of a couple of low-dosage Xanax tablets I had used to get through a few rounds of interviews without panicking).  I was taking no other medications at all at the time (unless you count my daily multi-vitamin). I also was not exercising (except for doing household chores and walking back and forth to my car, etc.)  My psychiatrist told me that I felt so much more rested and energized because, previously, my brain had not been resting while I was sleeping - instead it just kept going, thinking anxious thoughts throughout the night.   I will try to find my notes on the type of breathing and muscle-relaxation exercises I was doing, and then I’ll post another entry on this site when I do (I’ll do this for myself and for the rest of you because, you see, once I fell out of the habit of doing those exercises and stopped seeing my psychiatrist, my dream/sleep problems returned.  That’s why I stumbled upon this site; I was hoping to pinpoint the solution, and with the help of those who posted before me - whose experiences have helped to enlighten my own experiences- it looks like we’ll find a way to get rested and feel better.)
Avatar universal
Ok girls and boys I am not sure who is in this list more so fill me in. I am 54 this year for the past two years I dream all night long. For the last year its even worse can you even  think it could be? I dream all night nothing really relaxing or pleasant,I wake up all night tossing and turning from side to sid eup and down. My alarm is set for 6:30 I jump right up get out of bed and get ready for work. My husband says to me how can you do that you haven't slept all night! I do it in fear of dreaming any longer. I am exhausted but need to get out of the bed. I get really tired around 3:00 in the afternoon but I keep on going I do not nap every its jus tnot me can't!
Do I take anything? Not now I have tried it all amiben ,P.M. Lunesta, none o fit works. I am not over weight good condition no problems with my heath just plain old every day life problems. I just said to my husband tonight I am tired out I aske dhim once agin how it is he sleeps he answered good,dreams some up always realxing and good thoughts.So with this all said jus twanted all of you to know I take nothing an I do the same, Seen Doctors known telling me I am Bipolar? So what is it? I sure do not know other than the fact I know my body is change I call it MENTAL PAUSE. I can't wait to some day once agin to just sleep to peace tha tI get as I look up toward the sky and see the clouds and see just nothing up peace.
Avatar universal
hello everyone.
  I'm tired.  Every night when I go to sleep I cant shut off my brain.  There is alot of stress in my life as of late.  I have always had very vivid dreams, and 99% of the time I remember every detail.  People are in pure shock when I describe a dream to them because I can remember it like someone would remember a movie they had seen a hundred times.  Up until lately it hasnt really been a problem for me, I would just get right into it and enjoy the show.  But lately it seems like I am just an outsider watching, half asleep/half awake.  I am even able to control the dream if I dont enjoy the direction its going in.  So I lay in bed, watching myself dream, knowing that I am dreaming and it doesnt feel like sleep at all. Even when I wake up in the morning, im still 80 % in my dream. If its a good one, ill go back into it changing it as I go along.  I just want to go to sleep and actually sleep, not do all the things I didnt have time to do during the day... in a dream.  It is especially frustrating because even though I am accomplishing things and I feel like Im getting things done I am half awake and I know that its only a dream.  I just want to sleep.   I have tried reading  a book before I go to sleep because I used to have toruble falling to sleep but that only helps me get to dream land.  I has no effect on just sleeping, without being kept awake by a dream. can someone help me?
Courtney  26
Avatar universal
It sounds to me like there is alot of habit going on in this thread.....Anxiety causes alot of habit because we create a habit to fight of the thoughts we want to stop thinking about so we are not anxious anymore (i hope that makes sense to you all lol) Mostly everyone in this thread is on meds and this vivid continuous intense dreamy state is also a side affect of meds.......now if you were to work on a new habit lets say a brisk walk to flush out any adrenalin meditation to relax the mind and release all the thoughts in the brain and memory relax the nerves, then go sleep in a different room and instead of letting the thought of "im going to dream intense and toss and turn" enter your mind entertain the thought of "im rested relaxed and i look forward to deep relaxation" give this a try you have nothing to lose.
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