Thought Blocking: Understanding Its Causes And How to Overcome It
This is something that all of us, at one point or another, have experienced – correct me if I’m wrong; As you’re in the middle of a conversation, you suddenly lose your train of thought. It’s like someone hit a pause button in your mind that brought all your thoughts to a screeching halt. Something you are familiar with? I can say I am.
There are times when you just struggle to find words to express what you’re thinking, but there are just times when you can’t find anything to explain – even to yourself – what’s happening in your mind. That’s what thought blocking is all about.
Thought blocking is a mental roadblock that everyone experiences. It can be considered a glitch in the thought process, an unwanted interruption that can disrupt your daily life and communication. It’s a condition that affects all of us in different ways, often stemming from underlying mental health disorders or stress.
So, if you often lose your train of thought or find yourself struggling to put your thoughts in order, then read on to learn what causes thought blocking, how you can treat it, and how you can help someone who also experiences thought blocking.
What is Thought Blocking?
Thought blocking, to put it simply, is when your thoughts disappear or get stuck, disrupting the flow of your thinking and by extension, your conversation. This can happen to anyone but thought blocking is more common in people who struggle with or are diagnosed with conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.
Thought blocking can often be categorized into different types. Some of the common types of thought blocking can include;
1. Positive: It is when your short thoughts or speech are interrupted. You experience a brief pause in your thoughts but then, you may continue with your original thought.
2. Irrelevant: It happens when you start to speak randomly. You may be talking about a specific topic but suddenly shift your focus to a different topic without warning.
3. Perseverative: It is when your thoughts continuously interrupt the conversation. It can also be when you excessively repeat the same words even without context.
What Causes Thought Blocking?
Knowing the causes of thought blocking can help you understand why it happens and how you can overcome it. Here are some conditions that can cause thought blocking;
If you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, then thought blocking might occur under the negative symptoms of the condition. In schizophrenia, thought blocking may lead to disorganized speech and social withdrawal.
2. Stress And Anxiety
While it can be rare in anxiety, thought blocking can occur when you feel too overwhelmed or stressed. Thought blocking can be an aborted response to overstimulation where it can also lead to dissociation and feeling lost.
Sometimes, having past traumatic experiences can also cause thought blocking especially when traumatic memories resurface in the form of intrusive thoughts, blocking your current line of thinking.
4. Bipolar Disorder
If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder then you may experience episodes of mania where you might face communication issues, similar to thought blocking, incoherent speech, and more.
In certain severe cases, where medications are used to treat mental health disorders, some meds may have side effects that can cause thought blocking. It is advised that you speak to your psychiatrist or doctor before taking any medication.
It can be difficult to diagnose thought blocking and might require a professional’s intervention. A mental health professional will assess your symptoms, medical history, and the presence of any underlying mental health conditions before determining if you’re experiencing thought-blocking.
How to Overcome Thought Blocking?
Dealing with thought blocking can be challenging, but some ways and treatments can help you manage it. While there are no specific treatment options for this condition, some treatment approaches that help treat the disorders that thought blocking is a symptom of can help.
Medications can also help people who experience thought blocking and its symptoms. Antipsychotic meds and antidepressants can be prescribed to help manage manic and depressive symptoms respectively. Medications, however, may have side effects so it is strongly recommended that you speak with your physician before taking any medications.
When it comes to therapy, talk therapy may not be the only approach to treat mental health conditions that cause thought blocking. However, there have been studies that show the effectiveness of using psychotherapy to treat mental health disorders. CBT, for one, can be an effective treatment approach to help reduce stress and reframe the thinking process.
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If thought blocking continues to affect your daily life, relationships, and communication, then don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. It could be a symptom of an underlying medical or mental health condition.
How to Help Someone Experiencing Thought Blocking?
Thought blocking doesn’t mean that someone is intentionally ignoring or being forgetful of their thoughts. When thought blocking happens, the other person can’t really remember their train of thought. So, if your loved one is experiencing thought blocking, here’s how you can help them;
- Be supportive and open-minded about their condition. Do not judge them for being absent-minded. Remind them that you’re there for them if they need help.
- Support their treatment and if they are not in treatment, then encourage them to find the right treatment option. Do not judge them for their absent-mindedness.
- Medication is an important part of helping psychotic conditions, so if your loved one is undergoing medical treatment, then encourage them to continue.
Thought blocking is a challenging experience and condition to have, but with the right support and help, it can be managed. Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a show of strength and courage. You don’t have to manage this mental roadblock on your own. You can always reach out to professionals or resources where you can find the right help and support on your journey to better well-being and thinking.
I hope this blog helped you understand what is thought blocking, what conditions cause it, and how you can overcome it. Let me know your thoughts and views in the comments below.