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Can Anxiety Cause a Dream Overload?

Sally-Anne Soameson, Psychiatrist
Can Anxiety Cause a Dream Overload?

Everyone knows that anxiety affects thoughts. But what you may not know is that anxiety can affect your subconscious and unconscious mind as well. Your dreams are affected by what you do and think during the day, and in many cases they may create more intense, vivid, and incredible dreams that may cause you to wonder: are dreams and anxiety related?

How Anxiety Affects Thoughts

Every type of anxiety disorder has the potential to affect how you think, what you worry about, and what you experience during the day. That is why it is important to learn about your anxiety so that you can understand and eventually take steps to cure it.

Dream Interpretation and Anxiety

Scientists currently believe that dreams do not necessarily have meaning. That is they believe that dream interpretation itself is likely an untruth in science. Many psychotherapists however, understand dreams as the gateway to our unconscious. There are two beliefs about dreams:

Not all dreams are going to be stressful or cause anxiety. In fact, it's not uncommon to have relatively normal dreams that are simply more intense than you experienced without anxiety. But since emotions affect dreams and since anxious thoughts all day could create some anxious dreaming, anxiety inducing dreams are not a surprise.

Night Panic and Anxiety

It should also be noted that some people with anxiety experience nighttime panic attacks, and may attribute that to their dreams. But anxiety actually isn't the leading cause of nighttime panic attacks. Those are usually caused by people who experience a condition called sleep apnea, this is a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep 

Is Dream Overload Preventable?

Contrary to what some believe, dreams aren't something you can easily control. Ideally, the way to control your dreams is by controlling your thoughts and your emotions, and the only way to do that is to focus on some way to reduce your anxiety.

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