Do persistent negative, repetitive, and scary thoughts indicate mental disorder?

Q. I get negative thoughts periodically. Is this a mental illness?

Answered by
Dr. Mascarenhas Lisa Barros
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 17, 2017 and last reviewed on: Aug 25, 2023

Hello doctor,

I am having repeated thoughts in my head from the last four months. This problem started at the age of 13, but on a periodic basis like three to six months. After that, it becomes normal. When I am in this phase, I have scary thoughts, feel like mind is racing, have wavering thoughts and I feel that I am actually in that situation, talking inside my head, and solving a situation which my mind has created. I cannot enjoy the present. I feel stuck with this mental condition. Generally, I avoid some kinds of situations and people, because I feel that if I go to some places or deal with some types of persons, then I might face negative thoughts. I do not know what this is called. Is this some kind of disorder or mental illness? Is this a rare or common issue? Please guide me on this problem. Waiting for your answer.



Welcome to

I wish to ask a few questions about it to clarify things. After how long does this episode recur? What is the content of your thoughts? Examples would be better. During the episodes: a) Do you get normal or less sleep? b) Do you feel very happy or angry? c) Do you like to buy new stuff? How is your mood these days? Besides those days, do you feel low for long periods of time like more than two weeks continuously throughout the day? Kindly revert back. Thank you.

Hello doctor,

Thanks for your interest in my case. This episode has come after two to three years and has lasted six months. I would like to give a few examples of my thoughts. One of the repetitive thoughts is that if I go on a vacation, I will lose my wallet or all other belongings and get stuck at that place. I cannot get back home on time. Another one is about my business. If I dealt with a particular person and did not complete that order, I get thoughts about being stuck with the problem for a long time. The thoughts become deeper and get to the micro level. During the episode, sleep is usually normal, but sometimes it is less, I feel angry and do not like to buy new stuff. Of late, I want to live alone and do not want to talk with new people. On some days, these feelings continue throughout the day. Sometimes, I feel them early in the morning or after sunset. I am scared.



Welcome back to

Thank you for clarifying things. You could be suffering from mild depression. My sincere advice would be: Consult a psychiatrist for counseling and take medication after a proper assessment. Start keeping a daily journal and pen down your thoughts. Do some breathing exercise daily like pranayama and Yoga. It helps release happy hormones in our body. I hope I could clarify your doubts. Thank you.

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