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Intrusive thoughts depression examples

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts that can cause you distress, disturb or repulse you, they may even make you worried that you are a terrible person, capable of doing things that go against your character. Reviewed and written by Dr Elaine Ryan on. With the current pandemic you may find that you have unwanted thoughts relating to Covid It is crucial that you are aware of how to stay safe, but you also want to make sure that coronavirus is not dominating your thought processes.

You might find it useful to read the following article on coronavirus and OCD. Estimated reading time: 17 minutes. All of us have experienced unwanted thoughts before, and not taken much notice of them.

You can experience intrusive thoughts with the following mental health conditions. Post-partum depression You may experience postpartum OCD with anxiety-related thoughts that make you think that you could harm your baby, which cause intense distress.

intrusive thoughts depression examples

If you meet with a mental health professional, they will undertake a complete assessment of your presenting problem to provide you with a diagnosis. This diagnosis is to formulate a plan of treatment.

The psychologist or physiatrist will ask you a series of questions to determine, for example, if your unwanted thoughts are occurring due to a specific mental health condition, such as OCD. If, for example, your diagnosis is that your intrusive thoughts are occurring due to having Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, your clinician can then devise treatment based on the diagnosis of OCD.

These can include thoughts or mental images of violent sexual acts, sex with inappropriate people or thingsquestioning your own sexual identity or any idea of a sexual nature that cause you distress.

If you would like my help with Intrusive Thoughts, you are welcome to view my online course. These type of thoughts can be extremely distressing as arousal is usually involved. Even though you have not carried out the act, the idea of it may cause you to feel aroused. Arousal does not mean that it is true; it is a normal physiological response. However, most people with these types of thoughts, mistakenly believe that if they experience arousal that this must mean that the thoughts are real.

These types of intrusive thoughts or mental images are incredibly distressing as you may be having unwanted thoughts that you could harm a child in some way. This can include unwanted thoughts that you could cause harm to your child. These types of thoughts can occur in postpartum depression and are part of mental illness, as opposed to reflecting you as a person. These may involve causing harm to yourself or others.

Again, these thoughts are distressing as they may include the fear that you may hurt someone, even though you have probably never hurt someone in your life. It can consist of an impulse to be aggressive to someone verbally or causing physical bodily harm. This does not mean you will carry this out, instead see it as one of the symptoms of OCD. These include inappropriate sexual thoughts regarding religious people or figures. Swearing during prayer or worship.

Strong urges to misbehave during services. Most people that I work with find it difficult to see these as harmless thoughts. They are more than likely to see them as some sort of sign that something must be wrong with them to have such ideas. Many people have unwanted intrusive thoughts that make them question their sexual orientation. This is not the same as someone who knows that they are attracted to the same sex. If you have intrusive thoughts regarding your sexual orientation, you still are heterosexual, but due to the beliefs, you may begin to suffer from doubts.

You might find that you obsess about your relationship. If you experience this type of intrusive thought, it has nothing to do with the quality of your relationship or how suitable your partner is for you. Instead, the thoughts you have about your relationship are to do with the obsessions and compulsion that occur within Relationship OCD. This can include being constantly worried about death, that your heart could give up at any given time.

It can also include distressing images of death, either you own or someone you care about. It is normal to worry about your kids and family when they are not with you.Intrusive thoughts are something I deal with along with bipolar disorder, although I should say that intrusive thoughts are not, specifically, a known symptom of the disorder. That said, intrusive thoughts seem to be something many with bipolar disorder deal with.

Here, I discuss what intrusive thoughts are and why people with bipolar disorder may experience intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are images or thoughts that you don't want that occur, often spontaneously, and cause distress.

For me, they are often images or sometimes repeated audio of a conversation I've had. See the below video for more on what intrusive thoughts in bipolar disorder are and what they're like. As I said, intrusive thoughts are not technically a bipolar disorder symptom but they are seen in many with bipolar disorder.

One study found that almost 50 percent of people with bipolar disorder had intrusive thoughts of traumatic events. Firstly is trauma. Some trauma therapists would tell you that every person experiences trauma and that trauma is defined not by the situation itself but, rather, by how one interprets trauma.

This makes sense. I might find something traumatic that you may find innocuous, for example. And there is evidence that trauma experience levels and posttraumatic stress disorder are high in people with bipolar disorder.

The second part is thought dysfunction in bipolar disorder. While bipolar disorder is called a "mood" or "affective" disorder, it's certainly about disordered thoughts too.

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Thoughts such as suicidal ideation, self-blame and others are common in bipolar disorder. So if we understand that thoughts can be dysregulated in bipolar disorder, it stands to reason that intrusive thoughts may be one of the types of dysregulated thoughts that we may have.

In my experience, intrusive thoughts in bipolar disorder are not only linked to trauma, however. It's also known that those with bipolar disorder experience obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD more frequently than the general population 3 and this, too, to help explain the prevalence of intrusive thoughts in bipolar disorder. In other words, while intrusive thoughts aren't a proven symptom of bipolar disorder I believe it stands to reason that more of us with bipolar disorder have them than in the general population.

It just comes down to how we think. We're different that way. In the next post, I'll talk about how important it is to deal with intrusive thoughts and how to deal with intrusive thoughts in bipolar disorder. Hello, im just curious.

Isnt seeing images or hearing things not there a symptom of some types ofbipolar? If so it considered an intrusive thought? All Rights Reserved. Site last updated January 25, August 29, Natasha Tracy. Dealing with Intrusive Thoughts in Bipolar Disorder In the next post, I'll talk about how important it is to deal with intrusive thoughts and how to deal with intrusive thoughts in bipolar disorder.

Psychological Medicine. May CNS Spectrums. Journal of Affective Disorders. Tags: intrusive thoughts bipolar. Back To Top.Ruminating thoughts are excessive and intrusive thoughts about negative experiences and feelings. A person with a history of trauma may be unable to stop thinking about the trauma, for example, while a person with depression may persistently think negative, self-defeating thoughts.

Many different mental health conditions, including depressionanxietyphobiasand post-traumatic stress disorder PTSDmay involve ruminating thoughts. However, in some cases, rumination may just occur in the wake of a specific traumatic event, such as a failed relationship. Persistent rumination can exacerbate the symptoms of existing mental health conditions.

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Conversely, being able to control ruminating thoughts may help people ease these symptoms and cultivate relaxation and joy. Most people experience ruminating thoughts from time to time, especially when they feel worried or sad. A person might ruminate on their fears about an upcoming medical appointment or test, while a student approaching graduation may ruminate about failing their final exams.

Persistent rumination, especially when a person experiences other psychological symptoms, may signal a mental health condition. Many mental health conditions can cause rumination, but rumination may also intensify the symptoms of some preexisting conditions.

These include:.

intrusive thoughts depression examples

Rumination may also be a sign of other mental health conditions. For example, a person struggling with codependence may ruminate on fears of abandonment, while a person with an eating disorder may be unable to stop thinking about their diet and exercise regimen.

Numerous strategies can help with rumination. People with depression, anxiety, or other mental health diagnoses may find that they need to try several strategies before one works.

It can be useful to keep track of effective strategies so that when rumination feels overwhelming, it is possible to turn to a list of methods that have worked previously. Read about different apps that can help treat mental health issues such as rumination. Alternatively, therapy may help a person regain control over their thoughts, detect signs of rumination, and choose healthier thought processes.

Some forms of mental health therapy, such as rumination-focused cognitive behavioral therapy RFCBTspecifically target rumination to help a person gain more control over their thoughts. While traditional cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing the content of thoughts, RFCBT attempts to alter the thinking process instead.

What Are Intrusive Thoughts in Bipolar Disorder?

Learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy here. Occasional rumination does not necessarily signal a serious mental health problem. People who are able to get their thoughts under control using strategies such as exercise or distraction may not need medical care.These are called intrusive thoughtsand just about everyone has them from time to time.

Usually, people are able to ignore the thoughts and move on. But sometimes, intrusive thoughts can get out of hand. If your thoughts are causing you a lot of distress or getting in the way of your daily life, it could be a sign of mental illness. Seeking treatment can help you learn to manage the thoughts.

Sometimes intrusive thoughts can be violent. You might think about hurting yourself or someone else. Thoughts like these may be a sign of an anxiety disordersuch as obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD. People experiencing post-partum depression may also have intrusive thoughts about harming their baby. Most people— regardless of gender —think about sex quite a bit. Working out your identity can be a long and difficult process.

For example, you might identify as lesbian, but have intrusive thoughts about sex with a man. Negative thoughts about yourself are a common symptom of depression. If your thoughts are bizarre or paranoid, you might be experiencing signs of psychosis.

Understand and Learn How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts

For example, you might feel like the FBI is watching everything you do, or that someone is trying to poison you. You might even see or hear things that no one else does. Psychosis can be a sign of a mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Sometimes drugs can also cause psychosis. These are just a few of the most common types of intrusive thoughts. There are many more. The important thing is to realize that intrusive thoughts are something that happens to younot something that defines you.

OCD: Sexual Intrusive Thoughts

Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal. Sign up for our newsletter to learn about opportunities to help change the conversation around mental health. Thinking about hurting yourself or someone else Sometimes intrusive thoughts can be violent.

Intrusive sexual thoughts Most people— regardless of gender —think about sex quite a bit. Negative self-talk Negative thoughts about yourself are a common symptom of depression. Delusional thoughts If your thoughts are bizarre or paranoid, you might be experiencing signs of psychosis. Other intrusive thoughts These are just a few of the most common types of intrusive thoughts. Finding a Hospital. Support Groups. Stimulant medications. I think my bipolar meds are making me feel worse.

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OCD Intrusive Thoughts Examples

First Name. Last Name. Cell phone number. Leave this field blank.When we have depression, we often have to cope with dark thoughts and scary urges.

These thoughts can seem to come on with no warning. They can feel completely overwhelming. Living alongside them is exhausting and at times very scary. But we are not alone. Stigma might keep us quiet, but we are definitely not the only ones to have ever felt like this.

Impulsive thoughts are sudden, involuntary thoughts, which tell us to do something. We could be cooking tea, having a shower, or walking down the street, and a thought pops into our head saying we should hurt ourselves. They can be very sudden and very loud. Intrusive thoughts are thoughts which enter our brain and try to take over our thinking.

They can be violent or distressing, and can enter our head at any time, without any warning. Click To Tweet. We hope that if we survive the day, we can finally have a break for a few hours while we sleep.

I can be a struggle to get to sleep in the first place, because the thoughts and urges can be scary and overwhelming. The thoughts can enter our dreams or cause us to wake up during the night. The more tired we become, the harder it can be to fight against the thoughts. They can leak into every part of our lives.

It can feel like we never get a break. Others are able to wake up on a morning, get dressed, eat some breakfast, and go to work. We wake up and before we even get dressed, we have to battle thoughts to stay in bed, harm ourselves, or isolate ourselves. Dark thoughts and urges can be scary and overwhelming. It can feel as though we are trapped between what our thoughts and urges are saying, and what we want.

The thoughts can wear us down. It can feel as though they are constantly battering us and all we want is a break. We can hold the thoughts off for a while. But when they continue for days or weeks on end, it becomes harder and harder to avoid them, or stand up to them.Kissen and Greene.

Unwanted intrusive thoughts are stuck thoughts that cause great distress. They seem to come from out of nowhere, arrive with a whoosh, and cause a great deal of anxiety. The content of unwanted intrusive thoughts often focuses on sexual or violent or socially unacceptable images. People who experience unwanted intrusive thoughts are afraid that they might commit the acts they picture in their mind.

They also fear that the thoughts mean something terrible about them. Some unwanted intrusive thoughts consist of repetitive doubts about relationships, decisions small and large, sexual orientation or identity, intrusions of thoughts about safety, religion, death or worries about questions that cannot be answered with certainty.

Some are just weird thoughts that make no apparent sense. Unwanted Intrusive thoughts can be very explicit, and many people are ashamed and worried about them, and therefore keep them secret. There are many myths about unwanted intrusive thoughts. One of the most distressing is that having such thoughts mean that you unconsciously want to do the things that come into your mind.

This is simply not true, and, in fact, the opposite is true. It is the effort people use to fight the thought that makes it stick and fuels its return. People fight thoughts because the content seems alien, unacceptable, and at odds with who they are. So, people with violent unwanted intrusive thoughts are gentle people. People who have unwanted intrusive thoughts about suicide love life. And those who have thoughts of yelling blasphemies in church value their religious life.

A second myth is that every thought we have is worth examining. In truth, these thoughts are not messages, red flags, signals or warnings--despite how they feel. The problem for people who have these thoughts--and one estimate is that more than 6 million people in the United States are troubled by them-- is that unwanted intrusive thoughts feel so threatening.

That is because anxious thinking takes over, and the thought—as abhorrent as it might be—seems to have power it does not.

intrusive thoughts depression examples

People tend to try desperately and urgently to get rid of the thoughts, which, paradoxically, fuels their intensity. The harder they try to suppress or distract or substitute thoughts, the stickier the thought becomes. People who are bothered by intrusive thoughts need to learn a new relationship to their thoughts--that sometimes the content of thoughts are irrelevant and unimportant.

That everyone has occasional weird, bizarre, socially improper and violent thoughts. Our brains sometimes create junk thoughts, and these thoughts are just part of the flotsam and jetsam of our stream of consciousness. Junk thoughts are meaningless. In reality, a thought—even a very scary thought—is not an impulse. The problem is not one of impulse control- it is over control. They are at opposite ends of the continuum. However, sufferers get bluffed by their anxiety, and become desperate for reassurance.

However, reassurance only works temporarily, and people can become reassurance junkies. Unwanted intrusive thoughts are reinforced by getting entangled with them, worrying about them, struggling against them, trying to reason them away.

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They are also made stronger by trying to avoid them. Leave the thoughts alone, treat them as if they are not even interesting, and they will eventually fade into the background.

This approach can be difficult to apply. But for anyone who keeps applying it for just a few weeks, there is an excellent chance that they will see a decrease in the frequency and intensity of the unwanted intrusive thoughts. Winston and Dr. She is nationally recognized for her expertise in the treatment of anxiety disorders.Cognitive-behavioral techniques can be very useful for taking power away from intrusive thoughts.

These are the thoughts that invade our mind, immersing us in their toxic mist. But before our anxiety gets worse and leads to greater cognitive decline, we can use these simple strategies on a daily basis.

He realized he needed another approach after years of relying on psychoanalysis. Such was Dr. Cognitive-behavioral techniques proved to be incredibly effective in clinical practice. If we manage to gradually change our thought patterns, that gripping, negative emotional charge will weaken. Then, we can make changes and behave in a more healthy way. It is one thing that can intensify the cycle of anxiety. It can dig us deeper into our hole as we surround ourselves with images, impulses, and unhelpful reasoning that completely cloud our sense of control.

Whether we like it or not, your mind is an endless factory of ideas. Unfortunately, what it produces does not always help us achieve our goals or feel better.

We all have pretty absurd and unhelpful ideas. However, under normal conditions we do not give this reasoning too much power. Instead, we prefer to prioritize encouraging, helpful thoughts. Now, when we go through periods of stress or anxiety, intrusive thoughts will be more frequent. We also usually give these thoughts more power than they deserve. Thought records enable us to apply logic to our mental processes. Think of someone who is afraid of losing his job.

This cycle may end up causing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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That is, by thinking of everything he could do wrong, sooner or later he will end up doing it for example, by falling into a very negative state of mind. To have a better sense of control, balanceand coherence, nothing is more helpful than making records of our invasive thoughts.

All it takes is writing down every negative idea that appears in your mind. Then you work out its truth. What have I done differently today that I think was so bad? Schedule rewarding activities throughout your day.