Nightmares and flashbacks

Many people who have been extremely unwell in ICU experience mental health issues after going home.

You may experience nightmares and flashbacks about your time on ICU. You may also experience feelings of overwhelming worry, anxiety and fear. You may feel like you want to run away. You may find yourself getting angry easily.

Nightmares and flashbacks can be part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the past PTSD has been linked to veterans and survivors of assault. We now know that it can also happen for patients who have had a life-threatening illness needing care on ICU.

Patients can experience symptoms from more than one type of mental health problem. This means that symptoms from PTSD can overlap with symptoms from anxiety and depression.

Reach out for help if you are experiencing troubling symptoms.

Where to go for support

General practitioner (GP)

A person you can talk to if you are experiencing troubling symptoms is your General Practitioner (GP).

ICU Follow-up Clinic

Depending on where you are, you also have access to an ICU Follow-Up Clinic.

Find Support

Related topics

This topic has been reviewed by an intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

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