What is it?

Intrusive thoughts are distressing, involuntary thoughts or images.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of intrusive thoughts may include:
- Disturbing or distressing thoughts that persist despite efforts to dismiss or control them.
- Feeling overwhelmed or anxious due to the content of the thoughts.
- Engaging in repetitive behaviors (compulsions) to try to alleviate anxiety associated with the thoughts.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing intrusive thoughts typically involves a psychological evaluation by a mental health professional. They will assess the nature and frequency of the thoughts and their impact on the individual's well-being and daily functioning. The presence of other mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), may also be considered.

Treatment

The treatment of intrusive thoughts depends on their severity and the presence of any underlying mental health conditions. Some common approaches include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): A type of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and develop coping strategies to manage distress.
- Exposure and response prevention (ERP): A specific form of CBT used to treat OCD, where individuals are exposed to anxiety-provoking thoughts and learn to resist engaging in compulsive behaviors.
- Medications: In severe cases or when other mental health conditions are present, medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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