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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

10 Tips PTSD Symptoms have Overtaken Your Thoughts

PTSD and Thought:
The Addictive Connection

Usually, thoughts are a gift. Thoughts are an incredible strength. Thoughts can be creative, conceptual, inventive, imaginative, positive, rational and enjoyable.

There is also a dark side to thoughts. For anyone who has gone through abuse, combat or trauma and ended up with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) knows these life-threatening experiences are life changing to survivors, particularly to the way the survivors think after. 

One thing that affects and changes every survivor the most is the content of the thoughts that seem to stream out of control through his or her head. From that point on thoughts seem so overwhelming, terrorizing and operate independently without control. Thoughts take on a power of their own and produce depressing, habitual, intrusive, harmful, hurtful, painful, traumatic, stressful or unhealthy such as obsessive and suicidal thoughts. Over time thoughts of this manner can become addicting.

Thought Addiction is Real

Anyone can form an addiction to a thought or set of thoughts. It is much more prevalent after a traumatic event than many of us may think. The concept of thought addiction is rarely acknowledged. Traumatic thoughts remain in the shadows of the addiction field because “people often fear what cannot see.”
Throughout everyone’s life, most of us get caught up in a thought loop at one time or another but end up being episodic.

Let’s look at the definition of what a thought addiction is.  Thought addiction is the formation of a habitual pattern with a thought or set of thoughts which develops into an unhealthy relationship. It is essential to understand the difference between everyday continuous thought and a full-blown thought addiction. With a constant thought, it is where the repetitiveness of the thought is put into action and achieves a goal. Upon completion of the goal, the intensity of the thought is eliminated.

But in contrast, an addictive involvement with a thought is where the thought becomes overwhelming, toxic, limiting, self-defeating and depletes every aspect of the person’s life, inside and out.

But trauma can cause thought to become more intense. For example, the processes of depressive, obsessive or suicidal thoughts are considered to be habitual patterns that if not broken or stopped can result in personal damage or death. Another way to view a thought addiction is when a person’s thoughts become so pervasive that the person is locked out of reality and his or her perceptions are distorted. Directly where thinking is not serving the person.

 Ignoring a thought addiction is a real threat to your relationship with yourself, relationships with others and your connection with reality. Thought addiction is a real addiction and has merit. Thought addiction is a red flag of possible addiction to a substance or behavior. This means a thought addiction is a phenomenon that serves as a sign or warning of some future destructive relationship yet to be fostered.

Let’s face it. Everyone will get very involved with a negative, habitual or obsessive thoughts from time to time. You have to be very careful not to get fixated on thoughts or addicted to those thoughts. When a thought process becomes unhealthy, an individual will spend so much time mentally focused on the associated emotional pain. With a history of trauma, thoughts become more one-sided toward the negative side. A feeling of trapped will ensue. Once in this type of cycle, he or she is rarely able to enjoy themselves in anything they do. A person may get so deep into a thought addiction that all other relationships are ignored.

That is why it is essential is to recognize when a thought or set of thoughts have become unhealthy, self-limiting, self-defeating, re-traumatizing or even addictive.

How does one know that they might be suffering from a thought addiction?

10 Tips PTSD Symptoms have Over Taken Your Thoughts

1.     When the thought in your head consumes your time 
        and energy

2.     When you are so consumed and focused on one thought 
        that it stops you from not experiencing reality

3.     When you find yourself returning to a negative thought 
        you promised you would not think again

4.     Spending more time in thoughts of the past than in 
        the moment

5.     When eating, and sleeping patterns are severely 
        disrupted due to constant thinking

6.     Experiencing increased anxiety and worry

7.     Being in fear of what you are thinking

8.     When a thought is more important than anything else in life

9.     When thoughts are re-traumatizing you but you 
        can’t stop focusing on them

10.   Your inner voice is critical

 The thought addiction is a debilitating condition that can severely deplete your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life. If you or someone you know suffers from a thought addiction, seeking help is very important and will be extremely beneficial. There is a new wave called Addiction Recovery Coaching that can help people suffering from all forms of addictions. Master coaching can teach and support you through all the awkward stages of recovery.

I have become acutely aware that you were my tormentor and enemy. I no longer want to work against each other. Let’s create a bright future together.

                               Coach Bill

 About the Author:  Coach Bill Tollefson, Ph.D. is a Certified Master Life, Post-Trauma and Holistic Addiction Recovery Coach who teaches others how to shift out of a thought addiction.  His passion is centered on those who have been victimized by abuse, combat or traumatic life events.  He is the author of a book entitled: Separated From the Light (A Path Back from Psychological Trauma) and Personal Philosophy

Coach Bill has numerous articles on a variety of topics for survivors of childhood and/or adulthood abuse and trauma, which can be found here on the Hub pages.  Additionally, he has YouTube channels which can be found here and here and two blogs: Trauma. DID and Addiction  and For Life Coaching.   Please go here to read his complete biography. 

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