Anxiety and Dreams

Did you know that anxiety affects your dreams?

Although anxiety disorders are well understood, not much is known about the dream content of those living with an anxiety disorder (Rimsh & Pietrowsky, 2021, p. 303). In their study, Rimsh and Pietrowsky (2021) investigated the characteristics of the dreams of patients with clinical anxiety disorders, measuring them against the dreams of healthy individuals. The sample comprised 38 participants with anxiety disorders along with a healthy control group of 38 people. Upon waking in the morning, each participant completed written dream diaries for 21 days. The dream reports of the individuals were analyzed consistent with the Hall and Van de Castle (1966) system for the content analysis of dreams.

The findings of the study show that the presence of an anxiety disorder caused significant differences in dream contents, when measured against the dreams of healthy people. The dream content of anxiety patients involved more negative emotions, greater experiences of aggressive interactions, and feelings of failure. At the same time, the dream contents of these individuals involved fewer positive emotions, kind interactions, and feelings of success (Rimsh & Pietrowsky, 2021).

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Rimsh, A., & Pietrowsky, R. (2021). Analysis of dream contents of patients with anxiety disorders and their comparison with dreams of healthy participants. Dreaming, 31(4), 303–319.