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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10566
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have a question. For the last six months, I have had an obsessional

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I have a question. For the last six months, I have had an obsessional fear of schizophrenia. I have had "Intrusive"thoughts, none of which I have believed. I sought therapy (was diagnosed with GAD), and got better. However, over the last three weeks I've taken a turn for the worse. I developed a deep fear that these thoughts would feel pleasurable, and that I would develop schizophrenia that way. For the last few days, I have been intentionally giving myself these thoughts, and they have felt good, even though I don't believe them, and this upsets me to the point of tears. I'm scared-whats going on?

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you are having these intrusive thoughts and fears, I can understand how that can be distressing for you

Dr. Z :

So I can safely say that you do not have Schizophrenia based on these symptoms, but the intrusive thoughts and obsessions which means you can be developing an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which is a subtype of anxiety

Dr. Z :

Now the best therapy to successfully treat symptoms of OCD is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.

Customer:

I got a diagnosis of GAD, and the treatment for that really helped, but I haven't been back to therapy in about three weeks, and won't be able to get back for another couple of weeks. It's just this feeling of pleasure while i have thoughts that then terrify me that really gets me- I don't know how thats possible.

Dr. Z :

GAD and OCD have alot of overlapping symptoms as they are both anxiety disorders, but the good news is that they are primarily treated the same.

Dr. Z :

The pleasure you get from these obssessive/intrusive thoughts are called coping mechanisms, but they are maladaptive meaning they actually make you feel worse in the long-run

Dr. Z :

I can recommend some good books that can be able to help in you the meantime until you see your therapist again, if you would like

Customer:

Yes that would be helpful!

Dr. Z :

So I will do a mix of anxiety books and OCD treatment books too, as both I feel will be helpful for you

Customer:

Its weird-once I started worrying the thoughts would feel good, they did-but they felt horrible before.

Customer:

And then the feeling good just confirmed my anxiety, and turned me into an anxious mess, because I feel like I don't know what my brain wants, or if its manfunctioning, etc.

Dr. Z :

Its not malfunctioning, these intrusive thoughts you are having are common with anxiety disorders as you feel good about thinking them but usually that is only temporary and then you have to think about them more and more, and that is when it becomes an obsessional thought process

Dr. Z :

Also there are some good medications that can be used to help you stop these intrusive thoughts if you wanted to consider that route too

Dr. Z :

The best first line medications are usually in the form of an SSRI antidepressant and usually Zoloft or Lexapro would be prescribed to help stop these intrusive thoughts and level of anxiety

Customer:

Okay, I think I get it-so basically my brain is just giving into a self fulfilling prophecy, and giving me what I fear the most, just to continue this stupid anxiety cycle?

Dr. Z :

Exactly!! Individuals with anxiety that have these obsessional thoughts continue the cycle because it is a coping mechanisms. Same for people with severe OCD where they have to check if they locked the door 15 times because it is a coping mechanism to make them feel better, but it reinforces the anxiety and symptoms of the disorder...same with your thought process.

Dr. Z :

The great thing about CBT for you is that it is going to change your thought process gradually to help break that cycle.

Customer:

Okay-I can deal with that I think-thank you, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful, and I'll check out those books! I'm also going to try to get down to therapy this week instead of in two or three- I was doing so much better, about eighty percent better, and then this new strain hit me, and I'm away from home and didn't have my therapist...

Dr. Z :

Yes therapy is very important to help with this process and I think if you can get a therapy appointment this week it will be very beneficial for you.

Dr. Z :

Is there anything else I can do to assist you today?

Customer:

No, I think I'm good now! Thank you so much!

Dr. Z :

You are most welcome, I wish you all the best with your treatment. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime. Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

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