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Anxiety About Thoughts

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, i experience a problem that makes it very uncomfortable to be near other people. I will be sitting in a quiet environment and a thought will start popping into my head that i believe is wrong and humiliating. It tends to feel very loud and insistent and i have absolutely no control over it. And its the opposite of what i believe. For ages i will be terrified that im saying it out loud, even to the point where i try to hold my breath to stop it. I used to run away when it happened but now i can ride it out, even though its excrutiating and my face is glowing like a beacon. Horrible. I would be really grateful if you could explain whats happening and how i might get some help with it. Thanks.

You might be describing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people experience unwanted thoughts that they cannot control. These are called intrusive thoughts and they can be very bothersome. People with intrusive thoughts describe experiencing some of the things that you write about in your letter. I cannot provide a diagnosis over the internet which is why it’s advisable for you to consult a mental health professional in-person. They will know what might be wrong and how to fix it.

The good news is that anxiety disorders and related conditions are highly treatable. There are evidence-based treatments for anxiety disorders. Some of those treatments involve medication and specific types of therapy. If possible, consult a specialist. That will provide you with the best chance of reducing your symptoms and resuming a life without anxiety.

I’m sorry you’re experiencing such distress but with treatment that can change. I hope that my advice has helped at least in some small way. Thank you for your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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