LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?

Date June 19, 2019

Sometimes, we tend to see not very pleasant dreams. We are used to associating the images that our brain and memory helpfully offer us with current experiences: problems in the family or at work that cause us stress. As a rule, we don’t remember dreams clearly, unless they were vivid and realistic. After nightmares, we usually sigh with relief once we realize it was only in our heads.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?

In recent years, doctors have paid more and more attention to people’s mental health. According to WHO, more than 300 million people suffer from depression all over the world. But what is the relationship between dreams and mental disorders? As it turns out, seeing the same dreams may be a sign of urgent requirement for help.

1. Anxiety disorders

People suffering from such diseases are distinguished by an atypical reaction to certain objects or situations. Anxiety attacks are characterized by increased heart rate, sweating, and panic. As a rule, a person can neither control his actions nor correspond to the real state of affairs.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?Borysevych.com / Shutterstock.com

Such people have long, detailed dreams that are often repeated. The plot may be unchanged or depend on how much the situation in real life affects a person.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com

2. Depression

Depression is characterized by a distressing feeling, lack of interest, and gloomy thoughts and predictions. This condition significantly affects quality of life, can interfere with work or study, and even lead to suicide.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

Depressed people often see gloomy, scary, uncrowded places (dungeons, dense thickets), or dead people in their dreams, and they often experience real horrors. As a rule, such dreams aren’t related to each other by the plot. But, a person can see several of them in a single night.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?Dima Sidelnikov / Shutterstock.com

3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

This anomaly develops as a result of experienced shocks. People who lived through horrible events constantly reproduce them in their memory and are distinguished by emotional instability.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?Andreza Suang / Shutterstock.com

They see the images associated with the experienced event in their dreams. Visions often repeat and end in the same place, although the person has the ability to change the plot. Dreams often resemble black and white movies. Images can sometimes be incomplete (for example, a talking head without the rest of the body).

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?woman sits with her child, postpartum depressionTatyana Dzemileva / Shutterstock.com

4. Bipolar disorder

Patients with bipolar disorder “alternate” episodes of everyday life with depressive-manic periods, plunging into apathy, becoming overly active with sharp mood swings.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?bipolar disorder

People with this condition usually see very vivid, detailed, memorable dreams, which often continue each other. There is plot development as if the person is watching a series.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?bipolar disorder

5. Nutritional disorders

People suffering from anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating, and other eating and weight disorders often see food and a “perfect” version of themselves in their dreams. At the same time, their “relationship with food” in a dream is the same as in reality.

What Can Our Dreams Tell About Our Mental Health?VGstockstudio / Shutterstock.com

Any of the problems described above are medical and require timely solutions. But not always a bad or recurring dream is a sign of a mental disorder. The main thing to remember that there is no shame in asking for help if your dreams are concerning. Stay healthy!


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.