Dreams in anxiety disorders and anxiety

  • Anton Rimsh (Author)
    Postgraduate, PhD Student, Scientific Staff Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf Institute of Experimental Psychology Department of Clinical Psychology Universitätsstr. 1 Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Reinhard Pietrowsky (Author)
    Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Institute of Experimental Psychology Department of Clinical Psychology,

Identifiers (Article)


Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders nowadays. While anxiety disorders are a rather widely investigated group of mental disorders, study of dreams and dream content of people suffering from anxiety and anxiety disorders is relatively scant. Therefore, the present review serves to summarize and give a comprehensive and contemporary overview of the existing studies and research on the topic of relationship between dreams and anxiety and anxiety disorders.  In addition, it might help to emphasize the necessity of broader and deeper research of this problem and further research and studies on the topic. It contains a survey of interrelations between dream content and dream disturbances and trait and state anxiety in non-clinical and clinical populations, between dream content and dream disturbances and anxiety disorders in clinical populations, and the relationships between nightmare distress and anxiety. It also provides a glimpse on the relationships between dreams and comorbid anxiety and depression and the influence of anxiety on dream recall frequency. In sum, the results show that due to the relatively low number of studies which deal with this topic and their relative inconsistency, the problem of these interrelations and connections is not extensively or comprehensively investigated and developed up to this day, while the findings on such relationships and associations still remain heterogeneous and diverse to a certain extent. Therefore, further deeper and more profound research and investigation of this particular topic is required and seems necessary.


Anxiety, Anxiety disorders, Dreams, Dream content, Dream theories, Nightmares, Nightmare distress
How to Cite
Rimsh, A., & Pietrowsky, R. (2020). Dreams in anxiety disorders and anxiety. International Journal of Dream Research, 13(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2020.1.60789