Repetitive Intrusive Thoughts: Signs and Tips For Coping With It

Repetitive Intrusive Thoughts: Signs and How To Cope With It

Repetitive intrusive thoughts are a common occurrence among humans. They can manifest in many forms, such as doubt and anxious feelings that lead to excessive worrying. This type of thinking often develops into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) if left unchecked. The good news is that you do not have to live with intrusive thoughts forever. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of intrusive thoughts, how they can affect your mental health, and what steps you can take to address them.

What Are Repetitive Intrusive Thoughts?

It’s normal to have intrusive thoughts from time to time. Maybe you worry about leaving the oven on or getting in a car accident. But for some people, these types of thoughts are much more frequent—so much so that they can be debilitating. This is called repetitive intrusive thinking, and it can be a sign of an underlying mental health condition.

Repetitive intrusive thoughts are unwanted, involuntary thoughts that repeatedly pop into your head. They can be images, impulses, worries, or doubts that seem to come out of nowhere and cause you distress. Intrusive thoughts are common— everyone experiences them from time to time— but they become problematic when they’re frequent and disruptive to your life.

For some people with repetitive intrusive thoughts, the content of their thoughts revolves around a specific theme or worry (e.g., germs, safety concerns, violence). Others may experience a range of different types of intrusions with no clear pattern or theme. Regardless of their content, these unwanted thoughts tend to be distressing and difficult to control or shake off. They can preoccupy your mind and make it hard to focus on anything else. And in some cases, they may lead to compulsions or behaviors (such as checking, counting, or handwashing) that help reduce your anxiety.

What Causes Them?

There is no one answer to this question as the cause of repetitive intrusive thoughts can differ from person to person. However, some possible causes could include:

  • Past trauma or stress: If you’ve experienced a traumatic event or sustained a high amount of stress in your life, this can increase the likelihood of developing repetitive intrusive thoughts.
  • Anxiety or other mental health disorders: Anxiety and other mental health disorders are also linked with repetitive intrusive thoughts. If you suffer from anxiety, OCD, or depression, you may be more likely to experience these types of studies.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants, can also contribute to the development of repetitive intrusive thoughts.
  • Genetics: There may be a genetic component to repetitive intrusive thoughts as well. If you have family members who suffer from anxiety or OCD, you may be more likely to experience these types of thoughts yourself.
  • Personality type: Certain personality types may be more prone to developing repetitive intrusive thoughts. People who are perfectionists, for example, may be particularly susceptible to this type of thought pattern.
  • Brain chemistry: It’s possible that certain imbalances in brain chemistry can also contribute to the development of intrusive thoughts.
  • Sleep deprivation: If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can also make you more vulnerable to intrusive thoughts. Some research has suggested that sleep deprivation can increase the likelihood of intrusive thoughts.
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse can also lead to an increase in intrusive thoughts. Also, certain substances can act as triggers for intrusive thoughts.

Do Repetitive Intrusive Thoughts Impact Someone?

People who experience repetitive intrusive thoughts often try to suppress or ignore them. But this can make the thoughts worse. Trying to control the thoughts can lead to even more anxiety and distress.

Repetitive intrusive thoughts can impact every aspect of someone’s life. They can interfere with work, school, and relationships. The constant worry and anxiety can take a toll on physical health too. People who have repetitive intrusive thoughts may also develop other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

Some of the other impacts can be:

Difficulty Concentrating

One of the most common impacts of intrusive thoughts is difficulty concentrating. The distracting nature of the thoughts can make it hard to focus on tasks or conversations.

Low Self-Esteem
Intrusive thoughts can be embarrassing and cause someone to feel ashamed or guilty. This, in turn, can lead to low self-esteem and a negative view of oneself.

Social Withdrawal
The anxiety caused by intrusive thoughts can lead someone to withdraw from social situations or avoid activities they once enjoyed. This can cause further feelings of isolation and loneliness. Also, avoiding situations can make intrusive thoughts worse.

If you are struggling with repetitive intrusive thoughts, it’s important to seek help. Talking to a mental health professional can help you learn how to manage your thoughts and reduce their impact on your life.

How To Deal with Them?

If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts, there are a few things you can do to try and cope. First, it’s essential to understand that everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time – they’re a normal part of life. If your intrusive thoughts are causing you distress, however, there are some things you can do to ease your anxiety.

One approach is to simply accept the thoughts for what they are – just thoughts. Don’t try to fight them or push them away. Instead, allow yourself to experience the thought, but don’t get caught up in it. Acknowledge that the thought is there, but don’t dwell on it. This can be a difficult approach to take, but it can help manage your anxiety.

Another approach is to distract yourself from intrusive thoughts. This might involve engaging in another activity (such as reading, playing a game, or talking to a friend), Also, focusing on something else (such as your breath). The goal is to focus your attention on something other than intrusive thoughts.

Some other strategies for dealing with intrusive thoughts include journaling, challenging the thought (asking yourself if it is true or logical), cognitive restructuring (changing the way you think about the thought), exercising or meditating, and seeking professional help if needed.

Regardless of your approach, it’s important to remember that intrusive thoughts are a normal part of life and that you can manage them with the right strategies.

When To Seek Professional Help?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek professional help:

  • You are having intrusive thoughts that are causing you to distress daily
  • Your behavior has changed significantly
  • You are feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
  • You are having difficulty sleeping
  • Also, You are having difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • You are abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Also, You are engaging in repetitive behaviors
  • You are avoiding certain situations or places because you fear they will trigger intrusive thoughts


We hope that this article has helped provide you with an overview of what repetitive intrusive thoughts are, how to recognize them, and the steps you can take to manage them. It is important to remember that no one is alone in dealing with these thoughts, and it might be beneficial for those who are struggling to reach out for professional help. We wish everyone strength and resilience while they continue on their journey toward living a life free of unwanted intrusive thoughts.

For more information and guidance, please contact MantraCare. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding Online OCD Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.