Anxious people tend to have similar-themed dreams, study finds

Anxiety is a malaise that can be caused by different reasons and manifest itself in different ways for those who suffer from the condition. In a crisis, for example, people may experience chest pain, body tingling, distress, tremors, and even nausea. However, a study revealed that anxiety can also manifest itself through dreams.

According to research carried out by the University of Düsseldorf, Germany, and published in the journal Dreaming, at least three themes are most common in the dreams of people who suffer from anxiety. After analyzing a group of 76 people, half of whom suffered from the problem, the researchers identified that there was a kind of pattern in the dream themes of anxious patients.

Being persecuted, physically attacked, being paralyzed by fear, catastrophic accidents and witnessing the death of loved ones were topics that came up for those suffering from the condition. The variety of settings and characters in these dreams was much greater among the anxious than among those without the disorder.

In addition to recurring themes, some characteristics prevailed in dreams among people with anxiety, including the presence of old relationships and high power and speed.


Research author Anton Ramish explained that anxious people tend to have more nightmares about scary and hostile environments.

“According to this notion, we conclude that dream contents in anxious patients not only exist in large numbers, but are also experienced by them with a particularly high subjective intensity and emphasis,” he said.

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