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Constant Worrying: How to Manage Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can be alarming. They’re unwanted, appear out of nowhere, and the contents can be disturbing. Not surprisingly, constant worrying may accompany intrusive thoughts. But having these thoughts doesn’t mean you have some hidden desire to fulfill them. 

Yes, they’re unpleasant, but they’re also manageable. And while there are ways to manage intrusive thoughts at home, seeking psychological help and support can improve the outcome of treatment.

At Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills in Cameron, North Carolina, our compassionate team can help you find ways to better react to and manage intrusive thoughts. Here’s how.

What are intrusive thoughts and why do they occur?

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, come on suddenly, and tend to linger. They can be a problem for many because they’re foreign. One common myth is that having intrusive thoughts means you secretly want to act on them. In reality, intrusive thoughts don’t reflect your personality. 

For example, if you’re a kind and loving person, having a violent thought appear out of nowhere can be disturbing for you, but this doesn’t mean you’re violent.

Unwanted intrusive thoughts have a tendency to recur, so it’s easy to become fixated on them. This fixation does more harm than good, as it only adds fuel to the fire, making the thought seem more threatening than it really is.

Having intrusive thoughts doesn’t mean that you have an underlying mental health condition. Many people experience them, and in many cases, the thoughts don’t return.

Some mental health disorders, however, can cause intrusive thoughts, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The source of these worrisome thoughts can make a difference in how they’re managed.

How to manage intrusive thoughts

The distressing nature of intrusive thoughts can lead to constant worrying. And for many people, the more you try to fight or repress them, the worse they become. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers some effective ways to help you better manage intrusive thoughts:

We understand that this isn’t something you can just pick up and apply. Adjusting to these new habits can take time and practice. But with support and dedication, these steps can drastically improve the hold that intrusive thoughts have on you.

When to seek treatment

In many cases, intrusive thoughts don’t require medical help. But certain symptoms, when paired with intrusive thoughts, may be early warning signs of a mental health condition, such as:

At Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills, we provide a combination of therapies to treat psychological health problems. Treatment options vary due to factors like past experiences, medications, and family tendencies.

Talk therapy is a great way to work through emotional difficulties, symptoms, and intrusive thoughts. Sharing this information with one of our providers can also help us determine what’s causing your intrusive thoughts so we can develop a better treatment plan.

To learn more about intrusive thoughts, or for more information about psychiatric services, contact Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills by phone or schedule an appointment using our online booking tool.

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