Alex Saxton

Understanding and Managing OCD Intrusive Thoughts

Unwelcome, repetitive and upsetting thoughts or images are commonly referred to as intrusive thoughts, and they can arise in a number of mental health illnesses, such as OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). For the person experiencing them, these thoughts can cause a great deal of distress and anxiety because they are frequently invasive and recurrent. In this blog, we will explore strategies to understand and manage intrusive thoughts associated with OCD, including how long intrusive thoughts last, how to control intrusive thoughts and to get rid of intrusive thoughts.

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts or mental images that recur frequently and repeatedly, despite attempts to conceal or control them, are known as intrusive thoughts. They frequently include forbidden, violent, or unpleasant themes and might deal with issues like injury, contamination, or self-doubt. One typical OCD symptom is intrusive thoughts, which are unpleasant and undesirable thoughts that cause people to adopt particular compulsions or rituals to alleviate anxiety.

How Long Do Intrusive Thoughts Last?

Everybody experiences intrusive thoughts for different lengths of time. It is important to recognise that occasional intrusive thoughts are a normal part of human experience. But if these ideas start to bother you excessively, become repeated, or cause you great anguish, they can be an indication of OCD.

Numerous factors, including as an individual’s resiliency, the severity of the disorder, and the efficacy of treatment, might affect how long intrusive thoughts last. Over time, one can decrease the frequency and intensity of intrusive thoughts by using coping skills, medicine, and treatment. It is important to keep in mind, though, that the objective is not to eradicate intrusive thoughts entirely; rather, it is to learn how to control and deal with them.

How to Get Rid of Intrusive Thoughts

Client’s often ask me how to get rid of intrusive thoughts forever. Wouldn’t that be great if they just vanished completely! So it’s important to note here, that completely getting rid of intrusive thoughts forever may not be feasible. However, there are strategies to manage and reduce the occurrence and intensity of these thoughts, please see below for how to control intrusive thoughts:

  1. Recognise that they are just thoughts: Recognising that intrusive thoughts are just that—thoughts—and that they do not characterise you as a person is the first step. The distress they cause can be lessened by realising that they are a symptom of a mental health issue. To help them distance themselves from the ideas, some people like to claim that it’s not them, it’s just my OCD.
  1. Practice mindfulness: Using mindfulness practices can help you control your intrusive thoughts. Through complete awareness and concentration on the here and now, you are able to watch the thoughts objectively and let them drift by without interacting with them.
  1. Subconscious mind restructuring: Subconscious mind restructuring involves identifying the underlying CORE beliefs that are causing the OCD in the first place e.g. “all relationships are bad” and replacing them with more positive beliefs. It also involves turning down the volume of intrusive thoughts you get each day and the urge to do compulsions. You need to seek a hypnotherapist to do this for you
  1. Practise self care: Make self-care routines a priority, including getting enough sleep, eating a healthy food, and doing stress-relieving activities. Maintaining your general health will help you become more resilient mentally and lessen the negative effects of intrusive thoughts.
  1. Develop coping mechanisms: Find constructive coping strategies that will divert your attention from bothersome thoughts and use them. Exercise, hobbies, and quality time with loved ones are all good ways to refocus your attention and lessen the severity of intrusive thoughts.
  1. Use Techniques: mindfulness, ride the wave of an emotion are some examples of techniques you can use to calm down intrusive thoughts. Alternately, try grounding exercises like breathing deeply, employing your senses, or concentrating on a single subject. By using these strategies, you can refocus your attention from bothersome ideas and return it to the here and now.
  1. Create a supportive environment: Be in the company of compassionate and understanding people who can help you emotionally. The weight of intrusive thoughts can be lessened by joining support groups or talking about your experiences with dependable loved ones.
  1. Seek professional help: It is crucial to get assistance from a mental health professional or doctor who specialises in OCD if your quality of life and ability to operate on a daily basis are severely affected by intrusive thoughts. For the treatment of OCD, I suggest hypnosis and exposure therapy. Whichever form of therapy you select, be sure it is a regular one that offers long-term techniques and methods for dealing with intrusive thoughts.

Last words…

In conclusion, intrusive thoughts are a prevalent OCD symptom that many people experience as a source of worry and concern. Although total eradication of intrusive thoughts might not be achievable, there are a number of ways that can assist control and lessen their impact on day-to-day living. The most important strategies for controlling and overcoming intrusive thoughts include getting professional assistance, engaging in self-care, practicing mindfulness, hypnosis, exposure therapy, and subconscious mind reorganisation. Developing techniques to manage and lessen the influence of these ideas will help you live a more contented and balanced life.

If you need further assistance on on how to deal with OCD intrusive thoughts  – check out my “Hypnosis for OCD Relief”  professional service during which I can help you to feel calmer, and reduce intrusive ROCD thoughts and the urge to perform compulsions or reassurance seeking. To find out more – click this link

I’m a clinical hypnotherapist with over 15 years experience, and to  date I have helped over 100 clients from London, Poole, Bournemouth,  Southampton, Bath,  Bristol, the United States, and as far afield  as New Zealand in overcoming anxiety. Regardless of where you reside,  I am fully equipped to assist you in the same manner so do get in touch  if you need my hypnosis help too. Here is the link to my website and here is the link to my calendar if you would like to book a consultation