5 Commonly Asked Questions About Thought Disorder

5 Commonly Asked Questions About Thought Disorder


In simple terms, thought disorder is a disorganized way of thinking that typically leads to abnormal ways of expressing language when writing or speaking. This condition might be also a symptom of other mental disorders such as depression and mania as well as schizophrenia. According to specialists, it is extremely difficult to diagnose thought disorder if compared to other mental conditions. The main reason for that is the fact that a lot of people experience symptoms of thought disorder occasionally. Apart from that, some people might have signs of thought disorder only when they are extremely tired.

In the vast majority of cases, people tend to look for chronic back pain treatment or heart attack treatment (for instance) as these types of pain directly interfere with their daily activities and restrict from performing daily activities. People tend to forget how important our mental health is. Therefore, the following section of this article answers the most commonly asked questions about thought disorder.

What is thought disorder?

As was mentioned above, thought disorder is a mental condition that causes a disorganized way of thinking that further leads to abnormal ways of expressing language when speaking and writing. Thought disorder is normally referred to as thinking disorder, which occurs when patterns of thinking are distorted or altered. Thought disorder causes a person to perceive reality incorrectly.

There are approximately more than 20 subtypes of thought disorder. In addition to that, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are also mental disorders that include thought disorders that can cause individuals to lose a touch with reality. It is extremely essential to seek professional help when a person loses touch with reality.

What are the different types of thought disorder?

It is believed that thought disorder first appeared in scientific literature in the 1980s, when it was first described as a symptom of schizophrenia. Specialists claim that each type of thought disorder has its own symptoms but a description in the interconnectivity of ideas is present in all types. Doctors say that thought disorder is not diagnosed until it has a negative effect on a person’s ability to communicate. The most common types of thought disorder are depicted below.

  1. Blocking: people with this type of thought disorder normally interrupt themselves abruptly mid-sentence. They tend to pause for several seconds and even minutes. When they resume talking, they tend to change the topic of conversation. People who suffer from schizophrenia typically have thought blocking.
  2. Alogia: people who experience alogia tend to have poverty of speech. They also give unelaborated responses to questions. In the vast majority of cases, people with this type of thought disorder do not talk often unless prompted. Alogia is also present in people with schizophrenia.
  3. Circumstantiality: people with this condition have circumstantial thinking or speech. These people tend to express irrelevant details in their writing and speech. They are able to maintain their original train of thought but also provide excess of irrelevant details.
  4. Clang association: people who suffer from this mental condition make word choices that are based on sounds of the word rather than the meaning of the words. They are also prone to creating sentences that do not make sense. Doctors say that this is a common symptom of mania condition.
  5. Distractible speech: people suffering from distractible speech are not able to maintain a topic as they shift topics quickly. These people can be also extremely disrupted by internal and external stimuli. This type of issue is normally observed in people with mania.
  6. Derailment: people with this mental disorder talk in chains of semi-related ideas. Furthermore, their ideas typically fall further and further off the topic of conversation.
  7. Echolalia: this group of people have severe difficulties with communication as they tend to repeat noises and words they hear instead of expressing their own thoughts. For instance, they might repeat your question instead of answering it.

Other types of thought disorder include:

  1. Paraphasic disorder
  2. Perseveration
  3. Loss of goals
  4. Neologism
  5. Incoherence

What are the causes of thought disorder and are they known?

Unfortunately, the causes of thought disorder are still unknown but they are commonly observed in people who suffer from schizophrenia and other mental diseases. However, the causes of schizophrenia are also unknown yet. Doctors believe that the causes of thought disorders can be related to genetic, biological and environmental factors.

Thought disorder is very widely described and its symptoms vary widely. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to find a single underlying cause. Some doctors believe that thought disorders can be caused by changes in language-related parts of the brain. Other specialists claim that thought disorders are caused by issues in more general parts of the brain.

What are the risk factors of thought disorders?

It is a well-known fact that thought disorder is a very prominent sign of schizophrenia and psychosis. People who have the following conditions are at a higher risk of developing thought disorder:

  1. Bipolar disorder
  2. Depression
  3. Brain injury
  4. Anxiety
  5. Mood disorders

In 2005, a study among people with epilepsy was conducted. The results of the study indicated that this group of people have higher risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia compared to the general population. Furthermore, brain injury also increases the risk of developing schizophrenia as well as other mental conditions drastically. Doctors, who specialize in the field of mental disorders have prepared a list of risk factors for schizophrenia, which could also be risk factors for thought disorders:

  1. Mind-altering drugs
  2. Stress
  3. Autoimmune and inflammatory disease
  4. Exposure to toxic chemicals before birth

When is it time to visit a doctor?

As was mentioned above, some people experience symptoms of thought disorders occasionally. However, professionals in the field of mental health emphasize on the fact that if these symptoms are severe and frequent and cause difficulties with communication, it is highly recommended to visit a specialist immediately. Keep in mind that it is never late to seek professional help.

Furthermore, it is also worth mentioning that thought disorder is normally a sign of many mental disorders such psychosis and schizophrenia, which are extremely progressive and which could not be managed with proper treatment. In the vast majority of cases, people with thought disorders are unaware of their symptoms and require help from their family members. Therefore, if you observe any of the below listed symptoms in your friends or family members, you should seek immediate help:

  1. Disorganized thinking or speech
  2. Delusion
  3. Shortage of emotion
  4. Shortage of facial expression
  5. Neglecting personal hygiene
  6. Withdrawing from social life

All the aforementioned are the symptoms of schizophrenia and people who suffer from those symptoms need immediate professional assistance. During a doctor’s visit, a specialist will examine a patient’s culture, intelligence as well as education for the purpose of observing whether he/she acts inconsistently. After a conversation with a doctor, the results of the conversation will be transcribed and scored using the thought disorder index.

Thought disorder index is also called Delta index. This is the first standardized method of diagnosis thought disorder. 23 areas of potential thought disturbance are measured with the use of this index. The severity of each disturbance is measured on a scale from zero to one.

As was already mentioned, searching for thought disorder treatment ways is equally important to seeking chronic back pain treatment or heart attack treatment ways, for instance. Do not wait any minute if someone you know has any of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Keep in mind that mental disorders cannot be managed without professional help.

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Amelia Grant

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