Men who were abused as boys often experience problems with sleep. These problems can take many forms, including:

Its easy to see why problems might arise at night. You may be feeling almost permanently tensed up and unable to rest. Night time may carry particular memories of abuse. Instead of bedtime being a relaxing ritual, as a child, it may have been the time when you were violated by someone who should have been looking after you. Simply going to bed may be a trigger for bad memories.

Here's some general hints about sleep, rest, and bedtime, before we look in more detail at the distressing areas of nightmares, and waking in a panic:

You may be wondering whether to take sleeping pills. Its certainly worth talking to your C.P., as well as any other professionals you're involved with. Problems with sleep can also be a symptom of depression, and if you're depressed your doctor may prescribe you an anti-depressant to help you sleep and lift your mood. Doctors claim anti-depressants are very successful in treating depression. Other types of sleeping pill can be addictive and are usually only prescribed on a short-term basis. Its worth talking to your C.P. seeing what advice they offer, then weighing up whether any of it seems useful to you. Remember that pills alone are not the answer for dealing with abuse and are not a substitute for a good ho Support Team. The mental health charity publishes independent fact sheets on medication which are well worth consulting when making your decision. Find the address at the back of this pack in the 'Resources for Recovery' section.

Coping with nightmares

Men who have been abused as boys often experience distressing nightmares. The nightmares can include:

The emotion attached to the nightmare is often one of absolute terror.

Nightmares are like flashbacks and sudden unpleasant memories in that they represent the abuse suddenly breaking through into awareness. They are very distressing and hard to get rid of. Here are some suggestions:

If you wake up in a panic

Waking up panicking after a nightmare is a terrifying experience, so,

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