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Thought Disorders
The Psychiatry of OCD & Schizophrenia

What is a Thought Disorder?

Our thought processes are complicated but there are two main components to them. First is the ability to rationalize and make sound decisions. The second is the way we share and express these ideas and decisions. If you have a thought disorder, you may have a problem in one of these areas, or both at the same time. For example, you could make the best and most rational decisions in any given situation, but have a lot of trouble when it comes to explaining your decision to others. Alternatively, you might be a very articulate person who can speak and write well, but have a tendency to be impulsive and make irrational decisions that cause problems for yourself or others. You may have trouble with both at the same time, making quick or irrational decisions and not being able to explain them well.

There are many potential problems that can arise when it comes to our thought processes. Though thought disorders are usually self-contained in nature, they can get worse over time. As they worsen, emotions often rise, which can result in acting out or engaging in unacceptable behaviors. For example, maybe you falsely believe your coworkers don’t like you and are trying to get you fired. This disordered thought may remain silent until you get into a minor disagreement with a coworker, and you suddenly become angry and confrontational and begin to verbally or maybe even physically assault them. In this case, a disordered thought has led to unintended actions that bring harm to others.

Sometimes thought disorders also make it difficult to communicate. For example, someone may ask you a simple question that you know the answer to, but you find it difficult to explain. You may take a lot longer to answer the question and keep spinning around the correct answer without actually addressing it. You may finally get to the answer after many minutes of explanation, or you may not and keep talking in circles. Your family, friends, and coworkers may feel frustrated with your lack of communication which can severely affect your relationships with them.

What Causes Thought Disorders?

Thought disorders do not have one specific cause. Instead, they can be a symptom of a number of different mental health issues. Sometimes, thought disorders are a symptom of something as common as an anxiety disorder, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or confronted with an uncomfortable situation. However, they can also manifest in more severe ways in other mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In this case, genetics and brain chemistry imbalances are at play.

What Treatment is Available for Thought Disorders?

Treatment for thought disorders will depend on the underlying cause and the other mental health disorders associated with it. However, medication and therapy (particularly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) have both been shown to be effective at helping patients with thought disorders. PPS can help find the right treatment for you if you or a loved one are experiencing frequent or severe symptoms of a thought disorder.

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