Intrusive thoughts are unwanted and appear out of nowhere. They may be visual or mental images that make you feel distressed or anxious and are a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD). The latter is a severe mental health condition marked by obsessions or imposing intrusive thoughts that force an individual to act(compulsions) as a coping mechanism. OCD intrusive thoughts are unusual for you and might feel uncontrollable. For instance, they might be highly graphic or violent. Stressful life events, anxiety, or biological factors might cause or intensify intrusive thoughts. But many kinds of intrusive thoughts can be classified based on different criteria.
Different Types Of Intrusive Thoughts In OCD
Intrusive, repetitive thoughts might share a common subject or be completely random, depending on the individual. These thoughts influence people with OCD more due to their belief in thought-action fusion. It means believing that having an idea is the same as acting it out in real life. For instance, the thought of doing a violent act might arise in the patient’s mind, making them scared and wanting to seek self-control. Keeping that in mind, some common types of intrusive thoughts in OCD include:-
-Fear of Contamination: The image of someone with OCD is associated with a neat freak in popular culture. And this isn’t without good reason. A lot of people with this condition fear contamination or vulnerability to germs. However, you can’t reduce this fear to being a neat freak or a germaphobe.
-Fear of Losing Self-Control: Losing control over oneself and being overtaken by aggressive or sexual urges is a constant source of distress for some with OCD. To compensate for this, they might be compulsive to receive validation of their goodness from others.
-Ruminations: Intrusive thoughts don’t always need to be directly related to violence, fear, or other negative emotions. Philosophical or theoretical ruminations can capture the attention of some people with ADHD and take away their ability to function normally in daily life.
Read more: What Are The 7 Different Types Of OCD?
How To Deal With Intrusive Thoughts
Don’t fight with the thought right away. You may not want to entertain the idea or want it to go away instantly, but doing this only draws more attention to the thought. If possible, observe it without judgment, criticism, or avoidance. Accept this thought, and eventually, you will find that it goes away.
Acceptance and objective observation is also a technique for mindfulness, a practice that has been clinically proven to help deal with intrusive thoughts in OCD symptoms. According to an article published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, the practice of “letting go” can significantly reduce the symptoms of OCD. This practice refers to not engaging with a thought or mental vision but letting it be and go.
Read more: How to validate yourself through the power of self-validation?
When To Seek Help
If your intrusive thoughts are regular and starting to hinder you from functioning normally, it might be time to seek help. Signs intrusive thoughts are overtaking your life include:-
-hindering your ability to form and maintain healthy, supportive relationships,
-making it difficult to work, concentrate on productive tasks, do what you want, or
-draining your energy and leaving you helpless.
Such repetition might also be caused by some mental health condition, making it all the more necessary to consult a professional.
A common approach for dealing with intrusive thoughts or obsessions in OCD is cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT). This treatment focuses on changing your cognitions(beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives) and behaviors(habits, routines, and activities) to improve mental health.
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, repetitive cognitions that can cause distress and anxiety. They are a defining symptom of OCD and are often violent, unnatural, and overwhelming. If you are bothered by intrusive thoughts, you might want to consider opting for therapy. Professional help can guide you through typical problems, lifestyle changes, or healthy routines. Here is our list of the top 5 affordable online therapy platforms to help you from the comfort of your home.
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