Published on 16 July 2022

25 Common Nightmares That Are Warnings Of Mental Illness

Dream Psychology 25-common-nightmares-that-are-actually-warnings-of-mental-illness
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Nightmare is characterized by disturbing or frightening nightmares that awaken you, cause anxiety, or prevent you from getting enough sleep. Many of us have experienced waking up in 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,' 'constantly late,' or 'you are in some apocalyptic situation.' 'Nightmares are just nightmares' is the typical comment after such an incident, and lots of us go to sleep again!

But what if nightmares are not just nightmares? What if they are signs? Or are they trying to suggest something? Or, more importantly, what if all of the nightmares are some 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 present you with all the following dreams that are signs of mental illness. Our team of psychologists derives these meanings just for our users.

What Is Nightmare?

Nightmare is characterized by disturbing or frightening dreams that awaken you, cause anxiety, or prevent you from getting enough sleep. Nightmares commonly occur in children and adults, but as per some reports, they are most common in those with mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to experts, nightmares echo patterns of human behavior often connected to different incidents in life. 

Causes Of Nightmares

The chances of getting nightmares mainly depend on various causes directly or indirectly related to your life. A person creates 5 dream episodes during sleep, which last for 15 to 40 minutes, where they experience both good and bad dreams. The following are the significant causes of nightmares.

  • Stresses of life
  • Consumption of medications 
  • A worse incident, such as the separation or death of a lovable one.
  • Scary books or movies 
  • Mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, etc.
  • Sleep deprivation

Symptoms Of Nightmares

There are some chances of getting nightmares in the second half of your night. Sometimes nightmares impact the mind for the whole day or even a few minutes after waking. Here are some symptoms of nightmares mentioned below.

  • Feeling sweaty or ponding heartbeat suddenly while in bed.
  • Your dream awakes you suddenly.
  • Feeling anxious or scared after getting nightmares.
  • Distress that prevents you from getting sleep. 
  • Your dream is related to some incident or threat which makes you uncomfortable.
  • Physical aggression
  • Evil presence

As you know, nightmares are common in all age groups, but nightmare disorder isn’t expected. Contact your doctor soon if you have experienced any of the following symptoms.

  • Experiencing nightmares frequently.
  • Feeling significant distress during sleep.
  • Facing problems at work or any other place due to nightmares.
  • Fear of getting nightmares.

25 Common Nightmares That Are Warnings Of Mental Illness


Dream about drowning

Drowning in nightmares can signify 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 severe Anxiety, and these nightmares can be signs of those.

Getting Shot in Your Dreams

getting shot in dream

Dreams about getting shot in your house signify feeling threatened in your environment or the atmosphere you travel 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 plan of falling from a height because they have 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 to solve; those interpretations are consistently negative. Dreaming about broken teeth can represent this neglect in our lives and can be seen as a warning to better care for oral health. Not every dream is a metaphor. A tooth is one of the most delicate parts of the human, often neglected daily. Plans 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. 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 maximum 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 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 creeping up on you, and your subconscious is giving you severe warnings; Spiders can express the fear of the unknown. All dreams are subjective, and the emotions tied to symbols will help give you a clue. And never ignore your sign because a 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 for 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 that are reaching your way. In hell, these monsters are a representation of your problems. That means you should be ready to face the issues coming toward you. Be prepared 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 agony may suggest the end of something and the start of something unique.

Dreams provoke emotions — 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 a society of apocalypse.

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 profound 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 a "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 also be called dream visitations. There are some meanings to '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 stuck somewhere can denote your emotions about current events in your everyday life and future life. You feel physically or emotionally trapped or stuck, and your subconscious attempts 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 are anxious. Nightmares could even reflect anxiety in your waking life, which can often arise for no reason.

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 they solemnly need. It could be a job, money, or even a person. The 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 most of the time, it is spiritual. When you see nightmares of departed families speaking to you, the psychological causes 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 prevalent in women, though it can be noticed in men too. The nightmare that shows your home means you are on the verge of being completely and utterly burnt out. If you are suffering, your house is on fire, which 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. They may pretend to be someone, but they 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 fear keeps bottled up and keeps bot keeps 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 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.

Also read

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