How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts

How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are the things that go through your mind when you don’t want them to be there. And they’re typically thought patterns we’d prefer not to repeat in our minds, especially when it comes to certain mental disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Many people experience intrusive thoughts from time to time, but the thoughts can quickly spiral out of control if they are left unchecked.

No one enjoys having intrusive thoughts, but many people experience them from time to time, and it can be hard to know what to do about them. If you have an intrusive thought, the best thing you can do is try not to think about it.

You’re at work, but you can’t focus on the spreadsheet in front of you because you’re thinking about how maybe you shouldn’t have sent that angry email to your boss yesterday.

Or you’re at home watching TV with your family but can’t stop worrying about what might happen to your child if they take the wrong bus home from school today.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to stop these thoughts from controlling your mind and your life. Read on to learn more about how to stop intrusive thoughts and live the life you want to live!

What Are Intrusive Thoughts?

Do you ever have a thought that pops into your head and won’t go away? Maybe it’s something embarrassing you did in the past or something you’re afraid of doing in the future. Or maybe it’s a scary or violent image that seems to come out of nowhere. These types of thoughts are called intrusive thoughts and are pretty common.

If you’re like most people, intrusive thoughts pop into your head without warning. They’re usually sudden and random; no matter how hard you try, they won’t go away. Because of that, it’s normal for many people to feel anxious about them.

Intrusive thoughts are similar to obsessions in that they involve repetitive, unwanted thoughts. But unlike obsessions, intrusive thoughts aren’t necessarily related to your actions or other mental processes.

For example, if you are obsessed with germs, you may keep washing your hands because you’re afraid of getting sick. But if you have a violent intrusive thought about killing someone, it’s not necessarily connected to any action on your part or any phobia or mental disorder you might have. The thoughts just seem to come out of nowhere.

What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?

There’s no one answer to this question, as intrusive thoughts can be caused by various things. Some people may be triggered by anxiety or stress. Others may experience them during periods of depression or other mental health issues. Some people may have intrusive thoughts that are related to past trauma. And for some people, there may be no clear trigger at all.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety can cause intrusive thoughts in several ways. First, anxiety can be a response to stressors in your environment. For example, if you’re constantly worried about your job or finances, you may start to experience intrusive thoughts about these topics. Additionally, anxiety can also be caused by biochemical imbalances in the brain. These imbalances can lead to increased worry and rumination, which can then cause intrusive thoughts.

Eating Disorder

An eating disorder can cause intrusive thoughts in a few different ways. First, the constant worry about food, weight, and body image can lead to intrusive thoughts about these topics. Second, obsessive behaviors, often a part of an eating disorder, can lead to other obsessions and intrusive thoughts. Finally, the stress and anxiety that come with having an eating disorder can also trigger intrusive thoughts.


There are many possible causes of intrusive thoughts, but one of the most common is OCD. OCD is a mental health disorder that can cause a person to have unwanted and repetitive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These thoughts can be about anything but often center on themes of harm or danger. OCD can cause a person to have intrusive thoughts about anything that makes them anxious or afraid.

For example, a person with OCD might have intrusive thoughts about germs and contamination. They might worry that they will get sick if they touch something dirty. Or they might be afraid of harming someone else. Intrusive thoughts can also be about mundane things, like forgetting to turn off the oven or losing your keys.


PTSD can cause intrusive thoughts in several ways. First, the traumatic event itself can trigger intrusive thoughts. It can cause changes in the brain that make a person more prone to intrusive thoughts.

People with PTSD may try to avoid thinking about the trauma, which can lead to more intrusive thoughts. Those with PTSD may have difficulty regulating emotions, leading to intrusive thoughts. Finally, people with PTSD may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or drugs, which can lead to intrusive thoughts.

How Are Intrusive Thoughts Diagnosed

There is no one way to diagnose intrusive thoughts. Many mental health professionals use a combination of clinical interviews and self-report measures to assess whether someone is experiencing intrusive thoughts. Some common self-report measures include the Y-BOCS, the MOCI, and the OCI-R. Clinical interviews can help establish whether the thoughts are associated with significant distress or impairment in functioning.

No matter how intrusive thoughts are diagnosed, it is important for anyone experiencing them to have access to mental health treatment. There are many effective interventions that can help people get their intrusive thoughts under control. They can also be helpful in addressing and reducing any symptoms of depression or anxiety a person may be experiencing as a result of their intrusive thoughts.

Is There Meaning Behind Intrusive Thoughts?

Yes, there is meaning behind intrusive thoughts. They are usually a sign that something is wrong in your life and you need to make a change. Intrusive thoughts are also a way for your brain to release stress and anxiety.

Everyone has intrusive thoughts occasionally, but if you have them regularly, they may be a sign that something is wrong. These thoughts are usually connected to things like a bad experience or feeling isolated from others. Emotional distress, trauma, or loss can also trigger intense thoughts.

If you have these thoughts that don’t seem to bother you, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a real issue. If your thoughts are causing stress and anxiety, there are ways to manage them. It starts with understanding what the thought means. For example, one of the most common types of intrusive thoughts is related to suicide.

The person might think about hurting themselves, and this can lead to self-harm behaviors or even suicide attempts. It’s important to remember that these thoughts are not rational – they’re just images in our head – so you should try not to dwell on them as much as possible and ignore any urges you get to do anything self-destructive.

Types Of Intrusive Thoughts

There are different types of intrusive thoughts, but all of them share one common goal: to disrupt your life in some way. They can be negative or positive, but either way, they’re unwanted and can cause a lot of anxiety. Here are some different types of intrusive thoughts.

Acting Out in Public and Causing Havoc

Acting Out in Public and Causing Havoc is a type of intrusive thought. This type of intrusive thought is often related to anxiety and can be very distressing. They can cause you to feel like you are losing control and make it difficult to concentrate or function in daily life.

Doubts About Doing Tasks Wrong or Leaving Tasks Unfinished

Doubts about doing tasks wrong or leaving tasks unfinished are a type of intrusive thought. This type of intrusive thought can cause anxiety and can lead to procrastination. If you have doubts about your ability to complete a task or are worried about making a mistake, it is important to talk to someone who can help you manage these thoughts. There are also some things that you can do on your own to help stop intrusive thoughts.

Germs, Infections, or Other Kinds of Contamination

Fear of germs, infections, or other contaminants are intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, often disturbing images or ideas that repeatedly enter a person’s mind. They can cause anxiety and distress. People who suffer from intrusive thoughts often try to suppress or ignore them, but this can make them worse. The best way to deal with intrusive thoughts is to face them head-on.

Religion, Blasphemy, or Being an Immoral Person

Intrusive thoughts surrounding religion and morality are often about things that we worry could happen or think are morally wrong. They can be about religion, blasphemy, or being an immoral person. The content of the thoughts is not as important as the fact that they are intrusive and cause anxiety or distress.

Sexual Acts or Situations

Sexual intrusive thoughts are very common and can be extremely distressing. They can involve any sexual act or situation, including rape, child molestation, bestiality, and incest. Intrusive thoughts about sexual acts or situations can accompany strong feelings of anxiety, disgust, and shame.

If you’re experiencing these kinds of thoughts, it’s important to remember that they do not reflect your true character or values. There are many effective treatments available that can help you manage and reduce intrusive thoughts.

Acts of Violence: Aggression, Harming or Threatening Others

People with anxiety are especially prone to intrusive thoughts, which can take the form of worry about harm coming to oneself or others. Intrusive thoughts about violence are particularly distressing because they can involve images or scenarios of harming oneself or others. If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, there are some things you can do to help stop them.

Signs And Symptoms of Intrusive Thoughts

There are many signs and symptoms of intrusive thoughts. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Constantly worry that you’re going to harm yourself or someone else.
  • Have difficulty concentrating or focusing on anything else.
  • Feel like you can’t control your thoughts.
  • Avoid people, places, or things that trigger your intrusive thoughts.
  • Feel depressed, anxious, or hopeless.
  • Struggle with insomnia or sleep difficulties.
  • Use alcohol or drugs to try to cope with your intrusive thoughts.
  • Have feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.

How To Manage Intrusive Thoughts

Most of us have intrusive thoughts from time to time, but for some people, they can be so persistent and severe that they interfere with daily life. If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, know that you’re not alone and there are things you can do to manage them. It is possible to manage intrusive thoughts, but it may take time and effort.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that can be used to manage intrusive thoughts. CBT works by helping you to change the way you think about your thoughts. For example, if you’re having intrusive thoughts about harm coming to your loved ones, CBT would help you to question that thought and realize that it’s not likely to happen.

CBT can also help you to develop coping mechanisms for when intrusive thoughts do occur. If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, consider seeking out a therapist who specializes in CBT. They will work with you to identify which thought patterns are causing your problem and how they may have developed. They’ll then help you create new habits that better reflect your values and goals while minimizing the occurrence of intrusive thoughts.


Medication can be very effective in managing intrusive thoughts. It can help to identify and correct the thought patterns that are causing the thoughts and can also help to reduce the anxiety and stress that accompany them.

Medication can also help improve your ability to cope with intrusive thoughts, making them less likely to occur in the first place. If you are struggling with intrusive thoughts, talk to your doctor about whether medication might be right for you.

Keep in mind that some medications may not work effectively with certain disorders or types of medication, so it’s important to discuss what options are available with your doctor. For example, many people choose not to take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because they find that these medications trigger or worsen their intrusive thoughts.


Self-care is so important for managing intrusive thoughts. When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to manage stress and anxiety. Plus, self-care can help you feel more in control of your thoughts and emotions. Here are some self-care tips that can help you stop intrusive thoughts.

  • Stay in the present moment. Avoid dwelling on the past or thinking about the future because those actions will only cause more stress and worry.
  • Live life with gratitude. When you notice an intrusive thought pop up, try shifting your mindset by thinking about something for which you’re grateful instead.
  • Try meditation or deep breathing exercises regularly to help your mind feel calmer, less stressed, and more focused when you need it most.
  • Join a support group of others who have been through what you’re going through now; share your story and hear from others who have also gone through similar situations, as well as find helpful coping strategies together!
  • Engage in light physical activity, such as a short walk or hike outdoors. The fresh air and sunlight can help you focus on something other than intrusive thoughts for a few minutes.

When Is the Right Time to Seek Help for Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, often distressing thoughts that seem to pop into your head out of nowhere. If you’re struggling to manage intrusive thoughts, you may be wondering when the right time is to seek help. It’s not a simple question with a straightforward answer.

You can’t get rid of intrusive thoughts on your own, but there are things you can do to get them under control and minimize their impact on your life. There’s no right time because there’s no such thing as too soon or too late when getting help for mental health issues like intrusive thoughts.

A good rule of thumb is that if you find that intrusive thoughts are interfering with your daily life and functioning, it’s time to seek help. If you’re struggling to manage your intrusive thoughts but don’t feel like you can ask for help, try making an appointment with a doctor or mental health professional.

They’ll be able to point you in the right direction so you can get your intrusive thoughts under control. And don’t forget that other people understand what you’re going through because they’ve experienced it too. You need someone who will listen and understand what’s going on in your head.

How Defining Wellness Can Help Those That Are Struggling with Intrusive Thoughts Regularly

Defining Wellness can help those that are struggling with intrusive thoughts regularly. Addiction treatment centers can help individuals struggling with addiction and other mental health disorders. Through various methods, centers like Defining Wellness aim to help patients heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Treatment methods may include individual and group therapy, medication management, and holistic therapies. If you or someone you know is struggling with intrusive thoughts, please reach out for help. With the right help, healing is possible. The support offered by Defining Wellness programs can greatly benefit those in need. Providing a sense of safety and community increases an addict’s chances of recovery dramatically.

If you or someone you love has been suffering from these types of thoughts, don’t hesitate to seek help today. Contact Defining Wellness and learn more about how we can offer support to overcome this obstacle!