What Does It Really Mean If You Dream About Drowning?

Have you ever had the feeling you were trapped underwater, struggling to breathe? No matter how hard you try to swim to the top, you feel as if you're being weighed down and can't escape a horrible fate. Moments later, you wake up in a panic, only to realize it was all a dream. This is actually a frequent occurrence, as death is one of the most common dream types, according to Healthline. Even so, that doesn't make dreaming about suffocating underwater any less terrifying. The question is, what exactly does it mean?


Is it a premonition? Is this dream a sign something terrible is waiting for you? The short answer is no. Dreaming about drowning does not mean you're going to find yourself in the middle of a lake struggling to breathe, or that you can expect a tragic accident anytime soon. This phenomenon is a result of your subconscious feeling overwhelmed or out of control.

You feel hopeless

Dreams about drowning are often associated with thoughts of hopelessness and lack of control. Think about it, when you're dreaming and start to drown, you feel powerless — both physically and mentally. There's nothing you can do but sit back and watch yourself float away, so to speak. If you're frequently having these dreams, take a moment to assess what you have going on in your life. Were you let go from your job and can't seem to find work? Does it feel like you've exhausted all of your options to save your relationship?


The interesting thing about dreaming is that oftentimes, we're not aware of our hopelessness in our conscious state. Sometimes, it's up to our subconscious to bring these feelings to light, says Brian Tracy International. This is why it's important to take stock of your current situation. The sooner you can pinpoint the root of these feelings, the sooner you can find a solution, and your dreams of drowning should come to an end.

You're overwhelmed with your emotions

If you've noticed you're consistently having dreams about drowning, this might be a sign you're letting your emotions get the better of you. Perhaps, you're going through a major change in your life (such as a breakup or loss of a family member), and you don't have the proper resources or coping skills to navigate your emotions. Without these tools, you may frequently experience outbursts of crying or anger. These outbursts are most likely the reason for your dreams.


If you've ever had a panic attack, you know that it can feel like you're drowning or suffocating — a very common feeling during one of these attacks, according to Sarah Tuckett. If you're prone to panic attacks and regularly experience dreams of drowning, you may notice the suffocation sensation is the same. With that said, in order to stop the dreams, it's important to seek the help you need from an experienced professional.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.