Have you ever heard voices in your head? These voices may tell you what to do and what not to do. Such voices are thought broadcasting, a symptom of delusions of control and thought insertion.
If you have been suffering from delusions of thought broadcasting, this article will clearly understand the disorder and what treatment you should seek.
What Is Thought Broadcasting?
Thought broadcasting is a delusion in which someone believes their thoughts are being broadcast aloud, often in the open. This might happen when the person speaks to others or, in some cases, alone.
The nature of thought broadcasting can vary significantly from one person to another. The person suffering from thought broadcasting may seem confused, preoccupied, or paranoid. They are likely to believe others hear their thoughts and use them to judge personality judgments.
For example, a young man with this thought disorder was walking down the street when he suddenly thought another individual was judging him. Not long after, the man turned around and saw another individual looking at him angrily with his fists clenched. This person’s anger appeared to be related to the intrusive thoughts about the young man’s judgment with thought broadcasting.
Symptoms of Thought Broadcasting
Delusions of thought broadcasting are generally considered in severity at the lower end of the spectrum among thought disorders. More severe cases of this disorder are much more psychotic and may involve:
- Disorganized speech patterns
- Unable to think rationally
- Thoughts being stolen
- Thoughts being made up involuntarily without permission
- Hearing voices whispering
The occurrence of thought broadcasting is also often accompanied by anxiety and consequences like:
- Poor concentration
- Low self-esteem and feeling different from others
Causes of Thought Broadcasting
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes a person to cycle between episodes of mania and depression. A person with this condition will experience a range of moods, from manic to depressed. The swing from mania to depression can occur rapidly.
Stressful situations, extreme happiness, lack of sleep, or boredom can trigger sudden episodes of mania. And many people experience hallucinations or delusions due to mania or severe depression.
Schizophrenia is a long-term illness characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize reality. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality or behave in ways others can’t understand.
Thought broadcasting is labeled as a positive symptom of schizophrenia. The inability to control these thoughts leads to a damaging cycle of confusion and unhappiness, where the person believes that others are hearing their thoughts. This can often lead to violent outbursts because the person cannot distinguish what’s authentic from what they believe is projected from their mind.
Thought Broadcasting vs. Thought Insertion vs. Thought Withdrawal
The delusion of thought broadcasting is the belief that one’s thoughts are projected or transferred to others. In contrast, thought insertion is a rare phenomenon but not obscure.
Different psychiatrists have come up with differing interpretations of the phenomenon, but it is generally considered a form of delusion. The feeling that our thoughts are not our own but are inserted into us by some external agency or entity is an alarming one.
Thought withdrawal is the delusional belief that other people or external forces control your thoughts or take them away from you.
Treatment of Thought Broadcasting
There is a science to dealing with the symptoms of thought broadcasting, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard. Psychotherapy can help you learn techniques to control the symptoms of your thought broadcasting through talking and gaining coping mechanisms for difficult situations.
Therapies like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help you live an ordinary life instead of constantly fearing that someone will read your mind because you’re thinking it out loud.
In most cases, antipsychotic medication and psychotherapy may reduce the intensity of thought broadcasting and help lessen hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms like delusions and extreme agitation.
If someone in your life is showing some of the symptoms of thought broadcasting, it can be a terrifying time for them and you. This makes people with this disorder shun other humans and isolate themselves from society because they fear hearing their thoughts. So, if you know someone who might be experiencing this condition, make sure to find some way to show them that you are there for them.
- Joseph, S. M., & Siddiqui, W. (n.d.). Delusional disorder. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved July 13, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30969677/