Intrusive comes with its own negative connotation. Welcomed thoughts would be considerably different than intrusive thoughts. When thoughts are intrusive, they cause a disruption in a loved one’s life. Unwelcomed and uninvited, intrusive thoughts are annoying, aggravating, and upsetting. Living with a mental health condition is enough of a battle when it comes to the regulation of thoughts and feelings. A mental health condition which is known for causing intrusive thoughts quickly turns the battle into a war. Often, intrusive thoughts are irrational and illogical which makes their presence even more of a pester. Coping with intrusive thoughts is one of the great challenges for individuals recovering from a range of mental health disorders.


Mental Health Disorders With Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are most commonly associated with anxiety-based disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and post traumatic stress disorder are all anxiety based disorders. Each of these conditions will come with intrusive thoughts which can make the other symptoms of the condition worsen. For example, obsessive compulsive disorder is a combination of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Most often the obsessive thoughts in obsessive compulsive disorder start as intrusive. Contrary to common misunderstanding of obsessive thoughts in OCD, it has little to do with what the compulsion focuses on. For example, many associate OCD with a compulsive need for cleaning, organizing, and repetitious behavior. Their intrusive thoughts and obsessions are not about cleaning, organizing, or repetitious behavior. Terrible, tragic consequences about loved ones, opportunities, or strangers on the street are the focus on intrusive thoughts. In order to prevent these doom-filled prophecies from manifesting, the brain then shifts to obsessing about the ritualized, compulsive behaviors. Only these behaviors could relieve the pressure of the thoughts and save the people about whom the thoughts are concerned.


Having Intrusive Thoughts Does Not Lead To Acting On Them

Obsessive compulsive disorder is unique in that the intrusive thoughts are followed by an action to prevent the context of the thought from coming true. Rearranging the silverware drawer precisely four times to prevent a loved one’s car accident on the way home are two unrelated instances. Mental health issues like postpartum depression and postpartum bipolar, for example, have intrusive thoughts that do not create compulsive behaviors. Mothers are frightened and horrified by the intrusive thoughts they have about their newborn children. Images and ideas of harming their baby, not being a good enough mother, and needing to end their life, are common. However, just because they are having intrusive thoughts, they are not compelled to and do not act on those thoughts. The intrusive thoughts can be debilitating and disturbing, to the point of causing mental instability.


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