Psychology and Psychiatry

Obsessive thoughts

Obsessive thoughts are relentless thoughts, ideas, images born in human consciousness. Such thoughts seem to pursue a person, overflowing him. Also, this state is called obsession. Virtually every individual encountered the described phenomenon at least once in his own being. Many people, because of the accelerated rhythm of existence, believe in superstition, all the time they are afraid of forgetting something, lingering somewhere, being late somewhere. Often these experiences can be regarded as obsessive thoughts. At the same time, it is possible to talk about ailment only when obsessive ideas are made excessive, deliver psychological discomfort, cause mental anguish, and also often can harm the environment. It is believed that obsessive states are subject to uncertain individuals who have low self-esteem, increased anxiety, pursued by constant fear.


Sometimes people who are pursued by obsessive thoughts, consider them to be groundless, and as a result, they neglect them or seek to stop them, which only increases tension, for this reason it becomes even more difficult to regain control of the thought stream. Often, persistent ideas develop into obsessive acts. For example, if a person is painfully afraid of dirt and microbes, then his annoying thoughts will push to constantly wash their hands. The more diligent the individual seeks to suppress obsessive thoughts and fears, the more powerful they become, despite attempts to overcome them.

There are a number of predisposing factors contributing to the emergence of obsessive thoughts, namely:

- transfer of traumatic situation;

- exposure to stressors;

- the presence of persistent negative memories of a depressing nature;

- the effect of overwhelming doubt;

- the oppression of the family;

- the influence of the surrounding society;

- high or low self-esteem;

- unconscious craving for self-destruction;

- justification of own egoism;

- the desire to dominate.

All these factors are the result of individual human characteristics.

Modern medicine does not have a single view explaining the origin of ideas of an obsessive nature. Two concepts are considered to be the most reasoned, uniting the factors that can provoke the deviation in question.

First of all, identify the causes of a biological nature:

- anatomical features of the brain, which cause the specific work of the nervous system;

- mutation of the hSERT gene, which is a carrier of serotonin and is localized in chromosome 17;

- the transfer of diseases caused by streptococcus, such as scarlet fever and pharyngitis;

- violation of the neurotransmitter metabolism chain, lack of norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, GABA.

Neuropsychiatric factors are also distinguished:

- problems caused by growing up: (appearance of complexes);

- a type of higher nervous activity characterized by labile inhibition and inert excitation;

- prevalence in a person of an excessive tendency to focus on details, doubts, excessive perfectionism, stubbornness;

- exhaustion or severe fatigue of the nervous system.

Manifestations of obsessive thoughts

It is quite simple to recognize your own stay under the yoke of obsessions, since they are clearly visible in the behavior:

- a person is constantly in anxious state, becomes fearful, becomes insecure;

- tiring conversations with his own person are noted;

- the person constantly doubts the actions performed (for example, if he can cope with the assigned task, turned off the water);

- there is an overwhelming desire to commit any dirty act or bad deed (for example, to spit in the interlocutor, to swear obscenities), accompanied by a sense of fear;

- the person is pursued by depressing thoughts about wrong behavior, about bad deeds, reaching almost to self-torture;

- there is a fear of harming your own person or causing damage to your surroundings;

- there is a fear of catching an incurable fatal disease;

- there are intimate fantasies that are not applied in practice;

- persons who are in puberty, there is a painful preoccupation with their own appearance;

- babies may show an unfounded fear of death.

Staying under the relentless oppression of obsessive thoughts, the person is also in physical strain. Therefore, during obsessions can be observed: increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, polyuria, fainting, increased sweating.

One can distinguish such variations of obsessions as: aggressive motives, blasphemous thoughts, inappropriate intimate fantasies, obsessive memories of annoying, offensive, unpleasant situations; irrational fears (for example, fear of closed rooms, open spaces, fear of harming loved ones, fear of diseases expressed by fear of microbes and dirt).

The main feature of obsessive thoughts is the lack of a rational basis in fears and various fears.

How to remove negative thoughts

In order to understand how to get rid of the oppression of obsessive thoughts, first of all, it is recommended to establish the cause that gave rise to the obsessions. And then with the help of the methods below, you can try to stop forever intrusive thoughts and stop the constant internal dialogue that mentally exhausts the individual and physically exhausts you.

So, there are many techniques aimed at self-liberation from obsessions. Here is one of them, called: "ignore obsessive thoughts." It includes three required consecutive steps. In the beginning it is necessary to learn to ignore obsessive ideas, thoughts. As soon as the “hackneyed record” began to play again, it is necessary to take the position of an outside observer and calmly contemplate the flow of thoughts without delving into them, without hesitation, impartially.

In this case, pesky thoughts should not be avoided, but fully accepted, watching them as if from outside. This is the second step. Here a person may again begin to overcome physical suffering or moral torment. However, this moment must be experienced. It should be understood that everything is transient, so any torment will end and with them leave the person and his annoying thoughts.

The third step is a calm and indifferent attitude to the torturing morally inner conversation. This will reduce the severity of the problem, relieve the emotional charge, and also devalue its importance in the eyes of the obsessional.

The use of the described method will gradually lead to the transformation of annoying thoughts and their weakening up to complete remission. Here it is important not to expect instant results and not succumb to disappointment when, after seven days, the changes will not occur. It is necessary to understand that daily painstakingly following these three steps will surely lead to the expected effect.

The following method is called "learn to manage your thoughts." Its purpose is to rise above your own fear. Simply put, it should stop fighting with fear, you just need to go with her side, lowering it to the level of an ordinary everyday problem. The most important stage of healing is the understanding of the problem and its acceptance.

The first step involves understanding your own fear. Here you need to look "fear" in the eye. If you have thoughts that are depressing, do not give rest during the working day, bring to nervous fatigue, you should not strive to escape from them, you should try to look at the frightening thoughts from a positive angle. For example, a person is tormented by the thought whether he closed the front door in the morning. This question needs to be rephrased as follows: "If I try to remember whether the door is locked but I cannot, then, therefore, I need to develop my own attention."

The second step is to give intrusive thoughts a textual form. Simply put, it is recommended to record annoying thoughts. As soon as a pesky thought has arisen, you should sit down, close your eyes and try to calm down in order to allow the thought to fully form. Then you should write it down literally exactly as it was formed. Then you need to read it. This will help to level the danger of thought. Next, you need to burn this sheet. By such an action, a person as if erases a thought from his head, throws it out.

The third step is to replace the negative image with a positive one. It is necessary to recall the bright moment of feeling immense happiness, joy or peace, and fix the resulting image. And whenever obsessive thoughts prevail, one should turn mentally to this image.

The fourth step involves finding the hidden meaning of their own annoying thoughts. Here it is necessary to think about why such thoughts originate, what is the meaning in them. Maybe they should follow. Therefore, you should find meaning in them and start to solve them.

The third technique is called "increasing the circle of communication and their employment." The essence of the method under consideration lies in pushing away the pesky thoughts aside, not by combating them, but by acquiring new interests. Quite often, annoying thoughts pester the subject when he feels lonely and feels unnecessary. Therefore, the violation described may disappear without a trace if the person begins to interact more with people.

If this is not possible due to lack of interest in the surrounding subjects, then it is recommended to register on thematic forums or specialized resources. You can also get in social online services designed to organize and build relationships, comrades who are close in spirit and have similar interests. After the appearance of confidence in one’s own communication skills, it is recommended to switch to real interaction with close social environment, for example, with co-workers or neighbors.

How else can you remove negative thoughts from your head? Effective in stopping pesky thoughts is considered to be sports and various hobbies. Therefore, you should take all the available time visiting sports sections, all kinds of needlework, drawing, playing music. Then self-digging and obsessive thoughts will fade into the background. Any physical fatigue successfully displaces emotional fatigue.

In addition to the above techniques, it will not be superfluous to master relaxation techniques, since obsessions cause not only mental anguish, but also physical suffering. Therefore, when obsessive thoughts are completely overcome, it is necessary to relax and try to eliminate the tension that has arisen.

Today, there are many different exercises that contribute to relaxation, because to choose the right is not difficult.

The most elementary, but sufficiently effective exercise is considered to be the following: it is necessary to take a lying position, stretching the upper limbs along the body. You should calm your breathing and imagine how each cell of the body relaxes. This will help eliminate unnecessary stress.

Cognitive-behavioral techniques of psychotherapy are also considered effective methods in the treatment of obsessive thoughts.

If obsessions are observed in childhood or puberty, assistance should be provided as early as possible. Since the unstable psyche of children can either completely overcome this phenomenon, or will give a message to the formation of a more severe variation of deviation.

It is important to understand that the obsessions are a transitory state. You can learn, not opposing obsessive thoughts, coexist with them or live without them. The main thing is not to be afraid of your own annoying thoughts. They should be treated according to the principle: if they exist, it means good, if they are not, it is also excellent. Changing his attitude to annoying internal conversation, a person deprives it of significance and nullifies the “efforts” of obsessive thoughts to bring him out of mental balance.