By Sana Shaikh

BHMS and Yoga Trainer

16 July 2022
Medically reviewed by
Dhanashree Padhye
MA (Psychology)
Table of Contents

Nightmare is characterized by unsettling or frightening nightmares that awaken you, cause anxiety, or prevent you from getting enough sleep. A lot of us have experienced waking up with a shock in the dark of midnight with lots of sweat. And the majority of the time it's because of the scariest nightmare. Nightmares like 'falling from heights', 'being constantly late', or 'you are in the middle of some apocalyptic situations.' 'Nightmares are just nightmares' is the common comment after such an incident and lots of us go to sleep again!  (Hartmann, E., 1998)

But what if nightmares are not just nightmares? What if they are signs? Or they are trying to suggest something? Or more importantly what if all of the nightmares are some sort of signs of mental illness? 

As Joseph Heller says, "I want to keep my dreams, even bad ones, because, without them, I might have nothing all night long" dreams are our thoughts when we are subconscious. And that's why we are presenting you with all of the following dreams that are signs of mental illness. These meanings are derived by our team of psychologists just for our users.

25 common nightmares that are warnings of mental Illness –


Dream about drowning

Drowning in nightmares can be a sign that we may be feeling overpowered at work or home. It can also represent the feeling that we can't catch our breath! And most importantly this can be a metaphor for someone not getting a spare moment in life. A constant busy life can lead to some serious anxiety and these nightmares can be signs of those.  (Rasmussen, B., 2007)

Getting Shot in Your Dreams

getting shot in dream

Dreams about getting shot in your house signify you are feeling threatened in your environment or the atmosphere you are traveling through. These intuitions are guiding you to understand something or someone from your life is offering you a harmful vibe. This is a time to revisit and reorganize your environment.


Dream of falling

This is the most discussed dream or nightmare. Researchers show that this may reflect feelings of helplessness or even simple rejection. One can also have a one-off dream of falling from a height because he/she has just been through or near a cliff or rolled too close to the edge.

Losing Teeth

Losing teeth

One can interpret dreams about broken teeth falling out differently, and not all those interpretations are always negative.  Dreaming about broken teeth can represent this neglect in our lives and can be seen as a warning to better care of your oral health. Not every dream is a metaphor. A tooth is one of the most delicate parts of the human body, yet they are often neglected in our daily lives. Dreams of teeth falling out and breaking usually indicate that the dreamer is undergoing a period of self-doubt, frustration, or fear.


Dream about injury

Nightmares of an injury represent emotional hurts or humiliation. Someone may have said something that damaged your feelings—feeling damaged. Alternatively, an injury in a dream may reflect problems arising from your hastiness in a situation. It is an alert that you need to slow down. It may also represent an accident, misfortune, or bad luck you've experienced.

Snake Nightmares 

Snake nightmare

A snake in your dream is a very ultimate manifestation that your subconscious senses there is a harmful person in your life that is a primary threat, meaning their toxic behavior has reached the ultimate point where your subconscious has had it and needs you to give attention to it. 

Nightmares About Police

Nightmare about police

Police dreams or nightmares where the police force is present represent your ideas and want to claim authority, whether in the position or your private life. But don't worry and more importantly do not despair! The police have resources at their disposal o assert their authority and neutralize threats, and of course, they are built to deal with challenges and similar challenging situations. So, buckle up! You too can do it!

Nightmare About Spiders

Nightmare about spiders

The spiders in your dream tent represent the unknown, so it could be something you fear is creeping up on you and your subconscious is giving you some serious warnings, Spiders can represent the fear of the unknown. All of the dreams are subjective and the emotions tied to any symbols will help give you a clue. And never ignore your sign because a mere nightmare can save you from anxiety.


Vampires in dream

To be or become a vampire in your nightmare symbolizes a greedy condition to use or provide off of others in your life. You may also be overly hanging on a friend, household member, or consequential other and are subconsciously aware of it.

Nightmares About Monsters

Monsters Nightmare

A monster in your nightmare symbolizes those issues are reaching your way. In the nightmare, these monsters are a representation of your problems. that means you should be ready to face the issues that are coming toward you. be ready for the anxiety you are about to face.

Dream Where Blood Is Present

Blood in dreams

Meanings of some Dreams where blood is present

Dream of bleeding- Emotional pain and hurt. 

Period blood - Feminine power, strength, and vitality. 

Vomiting blood - Physical weakness and health issues. 

Blood on hands - Guilt and remorse 

Blood on the floor – Financial gain. 

Blood on the bed – Cheating or dishonesty by a partner.

Nightmares of Death

Nightmare of death

Dreams of someone dying can be disturbing, but one should not take these nightmares literally. Dying in a nightmare may suggest the end of something and the start of something unique.

Dreams provoke emotions — and those feelings can help you attach a drive to circumstances in your life. But an individual can't always interpret nightmares.

If you're troubled by frequent stress-related dreams, it may help to talk things out with a licensed therapist or you may have the anxiety of some sort.


apocalypse in dream

Following are the five meanings of an apocalyptic situation.

You are going through emotions up and down.

Your life seems out of control.

You are feeling a deep spiritual revolution.

Some things from the past are moving forward.

You are surrounded by people who talk about the apocalypse.

Dreams About War

Dreams about war

War in the nightmare can represent two sides. Positive side: It can be that you in dreams can vent your anger; therefore, you need not take "fight" with them in real life. The negative side is that you should express your anger in reality, not carry a lot of pent-up anger.

Dreaming of Dead People 

Dreaming of dead people

Dreaming of dead people can be also called dream visitations. There are some meanings to the 'Dream Visitations'. Following are some meanings compiled of the Dream visitations. 

You are processing your grief.

There are some pending issues that you need to resolve.

You are struggling with the ending of a relationship. 

You might need the deceased guidance. 

You might need to bring balance into your life.

Being Trapped 

Being trapped in dream

Dreams about being trapped or being stuck somewhere can denote your emotions about current events in your current life and your future life. You feel physically or emotionally trapped or stuck and your subconscious is attempting to get a good grip on the situation. These feelings of being stuck can lead to longer-term anxiety.

Being Chased  

Dream of being chased

'Running away from someone you don't know' can mean you feel threatened but don't honestly know or understand the source of the threat. This nightmare could even be a reflection of Anxiety in your waking life, which can often arise for seemingly no reason. (Rasmussen, B., 2007)

Cheating or Being Cheated On

Dream of being cheated or cheating

Nightmares, where one feels Being Cheated On, could also mean you are very insecure about your relationship in real life. One isn't feeling good about himself, or you think you aren't enough for your partner and that they might go around wanting to meet their needs with someone else.

Nightmares About Missing an Important Event

Nightmares about missing an important event

In the case of a nightmare about a missed opportunity, it can represent a person fearing- losing something that they solemnly need. It could be anything - a job, money, or even a person. The feeling of insecurity often stems from the fear of being unable to obtain something important. A person pins hope on the opportunity that comes their way.

Dead Relative

Dream of dead relative

A minority of the time, the explanation is psychological, and the majority of the time, it is spiritual. When you see nightmares of departed families speaking to you, the psychological explanations can contain Anxiety about the departed relative or feelings of remorse for not spending enough time with them during their living years.

Your House on Fire

Dreaming of your house on fire

This type of dream where you see a house in one fire is very common in women, though it can be noticed in men too. The nightmare that shows your house means you are on the verge of being completely and utterly burnt out. If your nightmare your house is on fire typically means you are stressed up to an unboreable level.

Being Naked in Your Dream

Being naked in your dream

Nudity often echoes someone's insecurities. If individuals notice themselves naked in their nightmare, they stress that their insecurities might be shown. It also suggests that he may worry about getting revealed. He/she may pretend to be someone, but in reality, he/she could be completely distinct.


saw storm in your dream

Storm in the nightmare signifies some effective loss, shock, or struggle and catastrophe, occurring in your life or fears, anger, or another firm, negative emotions that one hasn't outwardly expressed in a while and is keeping bottled up inside. It may also signal the rapid approach to a life change ahead.

Silent Scream

Silent scream in your dream

A silent scream in a dream indicates a deficiency, vulnerability, naivete, or passiveness. Something is troubling your heart and your subconscious, but you are not acknowledging it.

Being Paralyzed in Your Dreams-

Being paralyzed in your dream

Nightmares where you can't move but are wide awake, are called sleep paralysis. It occurs when your sleep cycle has not been completed, but your mind is sharp; there will be a periodic delay to the activist movements of your body. Hallucinations commonly arise along with bedtime paralysis. 

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