Several thoughts wander within the mind. If they cannot find a way out and repeatedly appear, it causes anxiety. We understand how hard it could be to deal with these unwanted, unaccepted, and sometimes disturbing images or thoughts. These disturbing thoughts are labeled as intrusive thoughts.
Not single or two, 6200 thoughts pass through the mind every day. More than 94% of people have experienced intrusive thoughts anxiety at some point in their life.
What and How Intrusive Thoughts Appear?
Intrusive thoughts are unethical, unacceptable, violent, unstable and sometimes compulsive thoughts and images that nonstop hit your mind. They are just like lyrics of a song that jam in your mind and keep on playing in your mind in a loop.
Intrusive thoughts surface anywhere and anytime. As these are violent and immoral, they tend to build up anxiety.
Intrusive thought anxiety is common. People generally think they have some mental illness that makes them create such weird stuff.
As per a comparative study, 80% of people with no underlying mental illness experience intrusive thoughts. This study highlighted that difference lies in the duration of these intrusive thoughts and not with the content.
Intrusive thoughts anxiety intensifies as people blame themselves and find out the root cause of such violent, sexually inappropriate, unwanted intrusive thoughts. The more you try to suppress or ignore more fiercely it appears. People often indulge in self-introspection like Do I want this? Do these thoughts indicate desires?
3 Unusual Causes Of Intrusive Thoughts Anxiety
People often worry about their mental health after encountering unwanted thoughts. Experiencing intrusive thoughts leads to distress. Often having violent, sexual thoughts might point towards underlying problems which may need professional assistance.
1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Well, compulsive and reappearing thoughts are directly related to OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. These thoughts are so compelling that they force the person to act upon them. Like, keep arranging your stuff as an urge for utmost order. The frequency of intrusive thoughts is more in people suffering from OCD.
It is also required to identify the difference between OCD and anxiety. Anxiety and OCD symptoms appear similar but, diagnoses can help in establishing clear grounds.
2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Unwanted thoughts emerge after any bad or traumatized experience. When the person does not recover from the reminiscences of that trauma, it causes PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Continuously living under stress mind portrays negative thoughts.
Intrusive thoughts can worsen post-traumatic stress disorder and can make other symptoms recur. These unwanted thoughts trigger flashbacks of the ordeal.
3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Intrusive thoughts anxiety could be a result of ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Sometimes attention deficiency makes our mind roam in every direction. It creates a circuit of negative thoughts and lead to unhealthy thoughts accumulation in our mind.
Treatment Of Intrusive Thoughts Anxiety
Mental health matters a lot. If you constantly live under intrusive thoughts anxiety, you might be willing to seek help.
Treatment for intrusive thoughts and OCD are the same. According to America’s Anxiety and depression association, intrusive, obsessive thoughts anxiety surface because of fear following intrusive thoughts.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavior therapy is designed to promote mental health. It was mainly to treat depression but, its uses stretch to other mental conditions like intrusive thoughts anxiety.
It has proved beneficial in less critical forms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
It deals with changing cognitive parodies like thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. It helps in crafting personalized coping skills to deal with anxiety.
How Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Works
Cognitive behavior therapy is treatment by a therapist through personal sessions with the person seeking help. Therapy helps to recognize the pattern of these unwanted intrusive thoughts.
Cognitive behavior theory deals with cognition in the way it projects images and thoughts. The next anchor deals with how our behavior changes after such unwanted intrusive thoughts.
The therapist often designs a task for the relief seeker. It might be anything that the person can do easily. How diligently the doer completes the given task, its positive impact lay a foundation for the next step.
In CBT therapist tries to give a broader view of the problem. It helps in realizing that these are just thoughts.
Surviving Intrusive Thoughts Anxiety
Apart from CBT, one can also take a few steps to manage intrusive thoughts anxiety. Following are a few tips for managing.
1. Do not be ashamed of such thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are powerless. They become more persistent when you pay attention to them.
2. The more you try to erase them more they will surface. Stop associating any meaning to these intrusive thoughts.
3. Accept them as any other thought. Relax and don’t stress over these thoughts.
4. Remind yourself that they will go. Remember that these are not real and don’t focus on any desire.
Mindfulness Exercises For Anxiety
Mindfulness techniques are anxiety control measures. Practicing mindfulness can help you out to deal with intrusive thoughts anxiety.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means consciously being present at the moment. It helps in the release of anxiety build-up. It also unties your mind from unwanted intrusive thoughts.
Meditation is one of the easiest to practice mindfulness activities. Meditation practiced with CBT shows great improvement. It helps in collecting scattered thoughts and consequently proves advantageous for anxiety accumulation.
It is easy to practice meditation. You have to find a quiet corner at your place. Sit comfortably and try to empty your mind. If you are new, you can focus on your breath. You can also visualize a green valley that will bring solitude to you. This one is known as visualization meditation.
Intrusive Thoughts Anxiety – In a Nutshell
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts that everyone experiences. They are of no use as they repeatedly flash, make people anxious about it.
Mostly as you try to find its meaning, they become more stressful. It causes intrusive thoughts anxiety.
Practicing mindfulness could be of great help. As these thoughts could appear anywhere, you must make your coping tool. Like, deep breathing for a few seconds.
You experience intrusive thoughts anxiety regularly and cannot find a way out of them. It is better to consult a mental health practitioner for further help.
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Name – Suvangi Chanda
Qualification – MBBS Student
Instagram handle – https://instagram.com/_suvangi._?igshid=NTdlMDg3MTY=