Do you ever have thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable? Thoughts that seem to pop into your head out of nowhere and make you feel like you’re going crazy? If so, then you are not alone. Intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of anxiety and OCD. In this blog post, we will discuss how to stop intrusive thoughts from taking over your life. We will cover a variety of strategies including mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure and response prevention therapy.
What is an intrusive thought?
According to the anxiety and depression association of America, intrusive thoughts are defined as “unwanted, involuntary thoughts, images or impulses that repeatedly occur in your mind.” Intrusive thoughts can be about anything that might cause you anxiety or distress. They may be related to your personal life, such as worries about your health, relationship, or job. Or they may be more general, such as concerns about natural disasters or terrorism.
Intrusive thoughts are common and completely normal. However, if these excessive and negative thoughts are accompanied by compulsions (repetitive behaviors or mental rituals that you feel you must do to relieve anxiety), then it may be indicative of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
This kind of intrusive thought or obsessive thinking can make you feel like you’re losing control of your own mind and create junk thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are different from normal worry because they are repetitive and persistent. If you experience intrusive thoughts, it can cause a great deal of distress. Don’t let these thoughts interfere with your daily life, reach out to a mental health professional at Mindflow Recovery today by dialing 833-957-2690.
Common intrusive thoughts include:
– Disturbing thoughts about sex
– Violent thoughts about harm coming to yourself or others
– Excessive worry about contamination or germs
– Intrusive religious or spiritual thoughts
– Doubts about your sexual orientation
– Intrusive thought about doing something socially unacceptable
– Excessive worry about body image or weight
What causes people to have intrusive thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are very common. But there is no single cause of intrusive or obsessive thoughts. They can be triggered by stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health conditions. Intrusive thoughts are also common in people who have experienced a traumatic event. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people experience them at some point in their lives. Certain groups of people are more likely to experience intrusive thoughts, including those who have:
– Anxiety disorders
Someone with social anxiety might have intrusive thoughts about embarrassing themselves in public. If you have social anxiety, intrusive thoughts may lead you to avoid social situations.
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder might have intrusive thoughts about dirt and germs. If you have OCD, intrusive thoughts may lead you to engage in compulsive behaviors such as washing your hands excessively or cleaning your house obsessively.
– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A person with PTSD might have negative thoughts about the trauma they experienced or feel that they are in danger even though they are not. If you have PTSD, intrusive thoughts may lead you to avoid people or places that remind you of the trauma.
– Experienced a traumatic event
Traumatic events, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one, can trigger intrusive thoughts.
What are the symptoms of intrusive thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, involuntary thoughts that can cause anxiety. They can be about anything, but they are often about things that are unpleasant or taboo, such as sex, violence, or death. Intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time, people with anxiety disorders often have them more frequently. They may also find them more distressing and harder to control. Intrusive thoughts can make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, or socialize. Intrusive thoughts can cause a great deal of distress. They can make you feel like you’re losing control of your mind. Symptoms of intrusive thoughts may include:
– Worrying that you will act on your thoughts
– Trying to suppress or ignore your thoughts
– Having difficulty concentrating
– Feeling depressed or anxious
– feeling that your thoughts are out of your control
Intrusive thoughts can be very distressing and may make you feel like you are going crazy. However, it is important to remember that everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time and that having intrusive thoughts does not mean that you are insane or have a mental illness. There are several things that you can do to stop intrusive thoughts and reduce the distress that they cause.
Strategies for stopping unwanted intrusive thoughts
If you’re experiencing intrusive thoughts or obsessive thinking and they’re causing you great distress, there are a few things you can do to try to stop them:
Identify your triggers
Write down when you first start to feel anxious or stressed. This can help you identify what triggers your intrusive thoughts. Once you know what triggers your thoughts, you can start to avoid these situations or deal with them differently.
Challenge your thinking
When you have an intrusive thought, try to question it. Ask yourself if there’s any evidence to support what you’re thinking. If there isn’t, then the thought may not be true.
Focus on something else
Intrusive thoughts can be difficult to ignore. A good way to distract yourself from them is to focus on something else. This could be something practical, like doing a puzzle, or something that engages your imagination, like daydreaming.
Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques can help you manage anxiety and stress, which can make intrusive and unwanted thoughts less likely. You could try progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense and relax different muscle groups in your body. Or you could try mindfulness meditation, where you focus on the present moment and let other distressing thoughts come and go without judging them.
Talk about your thoughts
Some people find it helpful to talk about their intrusive thoughts with a friend or family member. This can help you share how you’re feeling and get some support. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you could speak to a therapist.
If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, know that you’re not alone. Many people experience them, and there are treatments available that can help. Reach out for support from a therapist or other mental health professional if you need it.
Therapeutic Treatment for Managing Intrusive Thoughts
The caring and qualified mental health professionals at Mindflow Recovery can provide you with the guidance and support that you need so that you can learn how to deal with intrusive or disturbing thoughts. If you’re ready to take the first step, then please give one of our helpful mental health representatives a call today at 833-957-2690.
Some treatments have been found to effectively help those with unwanted intrusive thoughts not only manage but also reduce these persistent thoughts. These are some different types of therapies that can help you stop intrusive thoughts. You can talk to your doctor or therapist about which one may be right for you:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is an effective treatment for OCD and social anxiety and is another treatment option that can be effective for intrusive thoughts. A therapist can help you explore the thoughts and beliefs that might be keeping your anxiety going. They can also teach you how to challenge and reframe these fearful thoughts.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
DBT is a type of CBT that focuses on helping you accept your thoughts and feelings. It can also help you learn how to respond to them more helpfully.
Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP)
This is a type of CBT that is specifically designed to treat OCD. It involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that trigger your intrusive thoughts and then learning how to resist the urge to do compulsions. This can help reduce your anxiety and fear in the long term.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
This is a type of therapy that helps you accept your thoughts and feelings without trying to change them. It can help reduce anxiety by teaching you how to observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
MBSR is a type of mindfulness meditation that can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. MBSR can also teach you how to respond to them more helpfully.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can stop intrusive or obsessive thoughts. If you find that your intrusive thoughts are affecting your quality of life, and you want to take back control, it’s important to seek professional help with such thoughts. A therapist can work with you to identify the underlying cause of these obsessive thoughts and develop a treatment plan to address them, which may or may not include taking medication.
Don’t let intrusive thoughts or mental health issues control your life!
Thoughts are a normal part of life. We all have them, and most of the time, they pass through our minds without us even giving them a second thought. But sometimes, thoughts can become so intrusive that they start to take over our lives. If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, know that you’re not alone and there are things you can do to stop these thoughts and regain control.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are struggling with intrusive thoughts, reach out for help from a mental health professional at Mindflow Recovery today. We can provide you with treatment and support to reduce your anxiety, curb unwanted intrusive thoughts, and improve your overall quality of life. Help is just a phone call away. Dial 833-957-2690 today!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are intrusive or obsessive thoughts normal?
Intrusive thoughts are quite common, and most people experience them at some point in their lives. However, if these unwanted intrusive thoughts are causing you a great deal of distress, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.
Why do I have more intrusive thoughts at night?
There could be a few reasons for this. Maybe you’re tired and your brain is more relaxed, which can make it easier for intrusive thoughts to sneak in. Or, it could be that you’re not distracted during the day and have more time to ruminate on things at night. If you find that your intrusive thoughts are worse at night, make sure to stick to a regular sleep schedule and avoid screen time before bed.
Should I tell my therapist that I’m having unwanted intrusive thoughts?
Yes, you should definitely tell your therapist if you’re having intrusive thoughts. Your therapist can help you understand where these thoughts are coming from and how to deal with them healthily.
Do intrusive or disturbing thoughts go away?
For some people, disturbing or intrusive thoughts may go away on their own. But for others, these thoughts can persist and become overwhelming. If you’re struggling to manage unwanted thoughts, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with the tools and support you need to cope with intrusive thoughts, obsessive thinking, and anxiety.
Is it normal to have intrusive thoughts with anxiety?
Intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of anxiety. If you’re experiencing intrusive thoughts, know that you’re not alone and there is help available. While everyone experiences intrusive thoughts from time to time, people with anxiety may find them more difficult to manage. If you’re struggling to cope with intrusive thoughts and anxiety, it’s important to seek professional help.