Disorders of possession of thought

The following article aims at clarifying differences between Ruminations and Obsessions and consequently briefly introduce other related disorders. Thought is a neurocognitive function that allows us to analyze and synthesize information, assess reality and make judgments about it.

We all have been obsessed with something or someone before, it seems we know exactly what it is. Obsessions show as continuous and/or repeated thoughts/urges/mental images experienced as ego -dystonic, which means against your self-image and is unwanted. High levels of distress and/or anxiety are the consequence of that. The input (thoughts, urges, mental images) appears and intrudes progressively without external stimuli, and is perceived as coming from one-self.

Ruminations are similar to Obsessions but manifest themselves in a less intrusive manner. Sometimes they are also perceived as exaggerated. Instead of originating from ego-dystonic content, ruminations rather arise out of negative, generally past, and present content. Distress is seen as the prevalent consequence which is in accordance with them being less intrusive. If they persist, it is usually seen as a symptom of melancholia.

Thought alienation is a disorder in which the individual has the experience that their thoughts are under the control of an outside force or that others are participating in their thought process.

Patients suffering from thought insertion experiences his thoughts as if they were not his own, and although the subject realizes the foreign nature of these thoughts, he describes them as inserted and forces into his mind. This disorder is common in schizophrenia and delusional disorder.

Finally, thought deprivation lets the subject believe that their thoughts suddenly disappear and are extracted or being stolen from their mind by and outer force. They have no power over this.
Thought disorders can be extremely distressing for the patient.

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