If a person endures obsessive overthinking, this does not necessarily mean they have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When a person’s repetitive thoughts disrupt everyday activities and decline proper functioning, they have OCD. Types of thoughts that are discouraging urges or may seem disturbing cause anxiety and possibly other mental health conditions.
Typically, people will turn to drugs like prescription pills or alcohol to cope with the overwhelming thoughts. Unfortunately, the action may turn into substance abuse and lead to life-threatening health issues. Learning how to break the cycle of obsessive thoughts can help an individual avoid social isolation and addiction.
What Do Obsessive Thoughts Feel Like?
Depending on the recurring thought, a person may feel tired or anxious. Mental discomfort is often described by a person who battles with repetitive thoughts. For example, an individual may lack the motivation to be social or desire to avoid possible triggers that will encourage a new thought to emerge. In this case, these thoughts are defined as intrusive. Intrusive thoughts pop up in the mind, and obsessiveness over the specific thought begins.
An individual may be fearful of germs on objects or need to be excessively clean. These are symptoms that can follow overthinking. Usually, anxiety or depression are the results of long-term obsessive thoughts. This means a person is more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate or distract themselves from unwanted thoughts. If a person cannot function, then OCD and substance abuse go hand in hand, which may lead to needing to seek a dual-diagnosis program for treatment.
A licensed professional may use an OCD symptoms checklist to determine the severity of a person’s condition. Here are some obsessive thoughts examples:
- Religious obsessions.
- “I’m a failure at everything.”
- Fear of hurting yourself or others.
- Focusing on past traumatic events.
- Thoughts that cause doubt or harm.
- “What if I crash my car into a ditch?”
- “I’m going to get sick. Maybe I have a disease.”
- Sexual thoughts or images that may be violent.
- Repeating a sentence or phrase like “stop doing that.”
If a person experiences periodic intrusive thoughts but does not act on them, this does not mean that they are an obsessive thinker, which may potentially lead to being diagnosed with OCD disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an excellent method that helps people find the root of their problem and learn to practice and apply skills and techniques to calm the mind and regulate emotions.
How to Stop Repetitive Thoughts
Learning how to break the cycle of obsessive thoughts starts with being aware of the circumstances that cause triggers. Taking note of these signs and feelings at specific times can help stop obsessive thoughts. There are many ways to boost self-esteem and readjust life goals that help encourage positive thinking.
Here are some ideas that may help:
- Reading a book
- Speaking to a professional
- Creating a support team
- Listening to a favorite song
- Exploring meditation and mindfulness
- Recognizing the patterns and naming them
- Distracting yourself with hobbies or healthy activities
- Allowing thoughts and emotions to process, then letting them go
Trying new ways to think positively and distract the mind in a healthy manner can prevent substance abuse or overdose. Oftentimes, people turn to chronic drinking to cope. Therefore, seeking alcohol addiction treatment is highly advised if symptoms worsen due to excessive drinking.
Recovery at Pines Recovery Life Detox Treatment Center
At Pines Recovery Life Detox, our medical staff is prepared to guide you through the necessary steps to take to get to recovery. The goal is to sustain life-long sobriety after treatment. We offer relapse prevention skills and continuous support. If you or a loved one battle with certain obsessive thoughts and have found yourself at the bottom of the bottle, then get the help you need so you can live the life you want.