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How To Deal With Anxiety And Obsessive Thoughts

Take Care Of Yourself

How To Stop Intrusive And Obsessive Thoughts

This is important to reduce the risk of having obsessive thoughts in the first place. This can be if you are particularly experiencing any kind of depression or anxiety yourself. Try engaging in some form of relaxation technique. These are like meditation or yoga on a regular basis. You should make sure that your lifestyle includes more physical activities than just sitting down at work all day long every single day. A healthy diet helps too because it can help keep mood swings under control which often leads to dealing with unwanted thoughts as well!

Models Of Development And Maintenance Of Ocd Symptoms

Several models have been used to describe the etiology, development, and maintenance of OCD symptoms, including biological, neuropsychological, behavioral, and cognitive models.

Biological and Neuropsychological

The role of genetic variables in the etiology of OCD has been examined using twin studies and family history. Twin studies have found that monozygotic twins of individuals with OCD show higher rates of OCD symptoms than do dizygotic twins. Further, first-degree relatives of individuals with OCD have OCD themselves at a rate 312 times higher than the general population. Although this suggests that genetics may play a role in the etiology of OCD, it is important to note that environmental factors likely play an important role as well.

Various neuropsychological differences have been identified in individuals with OCD. Individuals with OCD are more likely to be unable to inhibit and direct attention from distressing thoughts and images toward more pleasant or less-distressing mental experiences. In addition, there are deficits in executive functioning, specifically set shifting. There is also some evidence that individuals with OCD have deficits in nonverbal memory, as well as lower confidence in memory judgments.




Teresa Ostler, Barry Ackerson, in, 2020

Understand What Obsessive Thinking Is

Obsessive thinking is a series of thoughts that typically recur, often paired with negative judgements. Many times there is an inability to control these persistent, distressing thoughts and the severity can range from mild but annoying, to all-encompassing and debilitating. These thoughts can be unflattering self-judgements such as Im not good enough, to worry over small details like forgetting to turn off the oven or lock the door, to more serious ruminations such as fear of falling fatally ill or hurting loved ones.

Obsessive thoughts can impact both your mood and functioning. When they enter our mind, generally our first instinct is some level of discomfort, followed by attempts to banish the unwanted visions. This is human nature: When something is bad, we avoid it. The stove is hot, so we dont touch it. Simple. But obsessive thinking is a different beast.

When we try to avoid a thought while in an obsessive state, the brain keeps reminding us about the unwanted thought so we dont forget to stop thinking about it. Its the same basic principle behind being told not to think about something say a pink elephant and our next thought becoming exactly what we are not supposed to think about.

The secret is that like all thoughts, what were ruminating over has no meaning by itself. As Deepak Chopra says, Thoughts are just fleeting mental images. They have no consequences until you choose to make them important.

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How To Help Someone With Ocd

The way you react to your loved ones OCD symptoms can have a big impact on their outlook and recovery. Negative comments or criticism can make OCD worse, while a calm, supportive environment can help improve the outcome of treatment.

Avoid making personal criticisms. Remember, your loved ones OCD behaviors are symptoms, not character flaws.

Dont scold someone with OCD or tell them to stop performing rituals. They cant comply, and the pressure to stop will only make the behaviors worse.

Be as kind and patient as possible. Each sufferer needs to overcome problems at their own pace. Praise any successful attempt to resist OCD, and focus attention on positive elements in the persons life.

Do not play along with your loved ones rituals. Going along with your loved ones OCD rules, or helping with their compulsions or rituals will only reinforce the behavior. Support the person, not their compulsions.

Keep communication positive and clear. Communication is important so you can find a balance between supporting your loved one and standing up to the OCD symptoms and not further distressing your loved one.

Find the humor. Laughing together over the funny side and absurdity of some OCD symptoms can help your loved one become more detached from the disorder. Just make sure your loved one feels respected and in on the joke.

What Are Intrusive Thoughts

OCD Awareness Week an opportunity for empathy  The Collegian

Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that consistently enter your mind against your will. They’re considered intrusive because you simply cannot get them out of your mind, and they often pop up at unusual moments. Intrusive thoughts may also occur in flashes, and often cause significant anxiety when they enter your mind. Another word for these thoughts is rumination.

There are many different types of intrusive thoughts, but they generally fall into these categories:

Still, any thought that comes at an inappropriate time may be considered an intrusive thought. Those with phobias may randomly experience a flash of the object that causes them fear, and in some cases that thought may be considered intrusive.

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How Do I Know If I Have Ocd

Everyone has thoughts that are upsetting or do not make a lot of sense from time to time, this is normal. Just having an unpleasant thought does not mean you have obsessions. Similarly, it is not uncommon for people to repeat certain actions, such as double-checking whether the door is locked. However, these behaviours are not always compulsions.

Cognitive Therapy For Treatment Of Ocd Intrusive Thoughts

Those with intrusive thoughts from OCD or complex PTSD intrusive thoughts benefit from mindfulness exercises but usually require treatment past self-help also. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has shown to be 70% effective in patients with OCD.

Through CBT, patients have to deal with their fears which helps alleviate the compulsions. Its essentially a treatment of detoxing the mind holistically. A modified CBT approach for intrusive thoughts include:

  • Taking a self-report questionnaire like an OCD intrusive thoughts test.
  • Role-play simulation with electronic cueing.
  • Determining the thought process a person goes through.
  • Refocus the brain through mental education.
  • Gathering evidence to challenge the deep beliefs the patient has.
  • Intentional thought exposure.
  • Non-judgemental acceptance.

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What Is Obsessive Thinking

Obsessive thinking is characterized by recurring thoughts that are often paired with negative judgments. In many cases, individuals experience an inability to control these distressing, intrusive thoughts, and their severity can range from mild and annoying to all-encompassing and debilitating.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, obsessive thoughts might take the form of negative self-talk to worry over small details to scarier thoughts, such as falling fatally ill or hurting loved ones.

Understanding Intrusive Bizarre Thoughts


It is important to understand in the first place, that everyone gets weird thoughts at some time or another. We tend to forget this when are so severely anxious. Here is an example of how a person who does not have an anxiety disorder may think:

A television viewer may be watching a true crime programme on television. It may be about a family member killing another family member. A thought may pop into the viewers head along the lines of I dont get on with my brother and he makes me sick. I could kill him sometimes. I havent got a gun but there must be other ways! He actually thought for a few seconds about the possibility of killing his brother.

This person may then stop to consider what he just thought. He would realise immediately that it would never happen, and the thought would be forgotten in a minute or two, perhaps with a silent smile at the irrationality of the thought. He knows he is not capable of murdering anyone let alone his own brother. Dumb thought!

You do not believe an average person gets these kinds of thoughts? The fact is they do. People dont share their weird thoughts with others and keep their nature a secret. We are all guilty of not so nice thoughts often based on such feelings as anger, hate, disgust and jealousy for example.

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False Memories And Other Symptoms

As we covered earlier, those with PTSD may struggle with intrusive and persistent thoughts, memories, and flashbacks. However, there are other types of memories that peopleparticularly those with OCDmay struggle with: false memories .

A false memory is when the sufferer gets an intrusive thought that theyve done something in the past and the sufferer cannot differentiate whether the thought is a memory or an intrusive thought .

Dave Preston, an author and blogger who struggles with his own OCD diagnosis, writes that these distressing, false memories can come at any time it might be a few hours after the event supposedly happened, or years after. Regardless of the time frame, the common factor in these false memories is often a sudden, striking thought that something bad happened at a specified time and place .

The memories may be vague or hazy at first, but as the individual grapples with it more, he or she will likely find that things start to sharpen and details begin to appear in their memory of course, these details are false, but they dont seem false to the person remembering them.

Clearly, false memories can have a pretty significant impact on those who suffer from them. And thats not the only symptom that those with OCD often face.

The Mayo Clinic outlines the two major categories of symptoms that someone with OCD might suffer from:

  • Examples: washing and cleaning checking counting orderliness following a strict routine demanding reassurances.
  • The First Step Is Knowledge & The Next Step Is Action

    When we truly understand the reasons for why we experience such distress at intrusive thoughts we can begin to relate to them differently. It´s important to remember though, that while understanding the issue and how it works is important, it won´t help you to overcome the problem on it´s own. To learn how to deal with intrusive OCD thoughts we have to take action.

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    Recognize Negative Thought Patterns

    The first step to stopping obsessive thoughts from disrupting your daily life is to identify the thoughts. Often, when youre stuck in a cognitive loop, youre engaging in a well-established habit. Like biting your nails or checking your phone every few minutes, obsessions and compulsive behaviors often happen unconsciously. The next time you notice rumination, tell yourself to stop.

    After recognizing your negative thoughts, try writing them down. Jotting your thoughts down on paper can help you examine them, understand how theyre triggered, and identify the real problems contributing to your obsessions.

    The Right Treatment For Intrusive Thoughts

    Intrusive Thoughts and Obsessive Thought Loops

    Intrusive thoughts happen to everyone. Its how you cope with them that defines how much theyll rule your life. For some, many phases have built up through time, creating an uncontrollable compulsion to avoidance or reacting to the thoughts.

    Its important that even if youre taking medication for intrusive thoughts that you also learn how to manage intrusive thoughts as well. This learned habit can be done through cognitive-behavioral therapy and other proven treatments.

    The various effects that intrusive thoughts have on people means that the treatment for intrusive thoughts vary as well. For those trying to recover from addiction, intrusive thoughts can plague the person, making it more difficult to overcome. Those with OCD or PSTD may not be able to overcome the thoughts without professional treatment and intrusive thoughts anxiety medication.

    In the end, its absolutely crucial that you work with a professional to find out how to stop intrusive thoughts in your particular situation.

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    When Is It A Compulsion

    • Compulsions are related to obsessions. For example, if you have obsessions about being contaminated by germs, you will compulsively wash your hands to reduce the fear of being contaminated by touching something dirty.
    • Compulsions are repetitive. They are often done repeatedly and in an excessive and very specific way . If the compulsions are not performed correctly or are interrupted, you might need to perform the entire compulsion again. Once is never enough.
    • Compulsions are also time consuming. People with OCD often spend at least 1 hour a day carrying out their compulsions.
    • Compulsions are deliberate. Although people with OCD describe their obsessions as being unwanted thoughts that pop into their heads uninvited, compulsions are carried out deliberately, because compulsions reduce anxiety in the short-term. While obsessions cause anxiety, performing a compulsion reduces that anxiety. For example, if you have an obsession about being contaminated by germs, you will probably feel anxious. However, if you then start compulsively washing your hands, your anxiety will probably diminish.
    • Compulsions cause a lot of anxiety in the long-term. Although people with OCD perform compulsions to deal with their obsessions, they often find that they become slaves to their compulsions. That is, they need to carry out the compulsions so often that they feel that they have no control over them.

    Different Types Of Ocd

    Some people struggle in their heads, without any change in their visible behavior. For instance, a person who is afflicted with thoughts of killing loved ones or accidentally burning down the neighborhood may continually think about it in an effort to reassure himself, or to somehow “undo” the thoughts, but otherwise doesn’t do anything differently. This is what therapists usually refer to as an “obsessive only” type.

    Others take specific actions they hope will get rid of the thoughts. A person who fears stabbing loved ones may put all the knives away, or avoid the kitchen, in an effort to get rid of the thoughts. A person who fears accidental fires will repeatedly check the stove to make sure it’s off, even if he hasn’t used it that day. These actions are what therapists refer to as “rituals”.

    In both cases, the person is desperately trying to stop thinking the unpleasant thought. The behavioral rituals, such as repeated checking of an appliance, are aimed at the same purpose as the invisible arguing with your thoughts. Either way, however, the thoughts typically become more persistent as a result. The efforts to get rid of the thoughts just make them more persistent. If you’re going to overcome OCD, you need to change this pattern.

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    What Is A Common Myth About Intrusive Thoughts

    There is a common myth about intrusive thoughts and that is that they must mean that we subconsciously want whatever we are thinking about to happen. But this is generally not the case at all. Sometimes good, kind and loving people have intrusive thoughts, but they are just random and they are not consistent at all with their intentions. They simply need to be ignored.

    Another myth people have about intrusive thoughts is the belief that they need to be closely examined. But remember they are just thoughts, and they only have the power we give to them. If there is no mental health issue present, letting them go should not be a problem.

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