Intrusive thoughts- why do they stick?: I've recently... - OCD-UK

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Intrusive thoughts- why do they stick?


I've recently been diagnosed with OCD, despite having no previous mental health issues in the past. My intrusive thoughts are somewhat dark and cause a great deal of anxiety, and often feelings of depression/ hopelessness. After countless research and support from my mum I was able to book a session with a cognitive behavioural therapist (only the one session as therapy is far too expensive). He explained that everyone has intrusive thoughts, but are able to dismiss them or shrug them off. Why is it that my intrusive thoughts stick, and despite countless self help techniques and 'natural' medications such as cbd and St. John's wort, do they persist and cause aggressive anxiety and feelings of doubt. I understand it takes time for medication to work, and to master self help techniques, but why is it that these intrusive thoughts stick and don't go away?

7 Replies

In OCD intrusive thoughts that most people ignore have a horrible habit of sticking! And then getting more attention than they deserve.

I took myself off clomipramine for a short while quite a number of years ago and tried St John's Wort but I felt awful. It is usually only used for mild depression and I don't think it has much effect on OCD. Better to take an SSRI, I think, perhaps boosted by a low dose of aripiprazole if your doctor thinks it might help.

One session of CBT isn't really enough to make that much of a difference, but if getting more sessions is difficult, then try self help books. The one I usually suggest is Overcoming OCD which has helped me, but there are others that are also helpful. There is a section in it with a list of random thoughts that people with and without OCD have experienced. They only stick in the minds of those with OCD! But lots of people have them. I can't explain the brain science behind it, but learning to ignore them is part of the therapy.

It isn't called 'the doubting disease' for nothing. That's one of the many horrible things about OCD, it makes you doubt, and you go over and over things and the more you do, the more you doubt. It's as if they demand attention, and if you give it to them they demand even more, but if you learn to ignore them they get fed up and go away.

Do try to get a prescription for some more effective medication. It takes a few weeks to kick in but it is worth persisting with if you can. I hope this helps.

in reply to Sallyskins

Very helpful, cheers x

Im so stuck and confused about it all idk how i can do this much longer. You are not alone, its like i have no control over my mind

in reply to Cherbear811

Just need to have the idea that you will be able to overcome it at the forefront of your mind, took me by surprise when my intrusive thoughts started and they still do, but with the right support and the right treatment it can be beaten x

Basically our intrusive thoughts stick because they are things that we don’t want to act upon, and they’re fueled by our fear. The more we keep trying to suppress them and the more fear we feed it, the stronger they become and they start feeling real. I hope this made sense.

The recommended therapy for OCD is CBT and medicationj, or both of them. Herbal based medication can work, but its always a questions of severity and the individual himself.

Generally doctors and therapist will start with CBT asnd SSRIs and add specific anti anxiety medication such as Xanax or Lorazepam, to help with the negative effects of the CBT treatment, i.e. anxiety,

You self-help with the therapy by not focusing on the intrusive thougths - just let them be and dont carry out ruminations or compulsions - they would only make the symptoms worse ad you never get out of the loop.

If your intrusive thoughts stick, just let them be - focus on something else or do something else. Physical exercise helps in keeping them, and anxiety, at bay.

This is a useful site - if the article is too long, just skip what is not relevant form you.

Be well


You can take all the medication in the world but as long as you misinterpret your mind, these problems may reoccur. Consider the video below as thoughts cannot possibly really stick. I mean REALLY stick. You can revolve them around like a cigarette in the dark and create the illusion of there being a full circle, but there's only the single point of fire. Understanding is essential to coming to a solution. I hope you are interested in considering this fact, as it can really get you places. Meditation would be a good practice to consider. Please don't take mainstream Western sources to learn about meditation. Take a leap of faith and take proper sources that explain why meditation is the main practice of Buddhists around the world, and why Buddhism relies on it. If you ever start your practice try to find it interesting to lan Watt's about thoughts not sticking:

Anyway, here is the link to Alan Watt's about thoughts not sticking:

NOTE: HealthUnlocked made it possible to literally link YT videos. Gosh, that is a really really friendly and nice feature! Good job :3

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