This article explains the relationship between anxiety and crazy thoughts.
What are crazy thoughts, why do they occur, and what can you do to eliminate them.
The crazy thoughts anxiety symptoms are often described as:
- Having thoughts that seem odd, bizarre, and crazy.
- Thoughts that seem to be wrong, upsetting, and frightening because they are so uncharacteristic of your thinking.
- Thoughts that seem off kilter, strange, and unsettling.
- Thoughts that seem strange, outlandish and abnormal.
- Thoughts that seem freaky, off the wall, and offbeat.
- Some people describe their crazy thoughts as weird, oddball and way out of the normal.
Examples of these types of crazy thoughts include:
- Having unusual and off kilter thoughts about your health, sanity, self-worth, loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, etc.
- Having strange thoughts about existential, reality, or spiritual matters.
- Having offbeat thoughts about sexual matters.
- You can experience crazy thoughts about any subject or topic.
Because these crazy thoughts can seem so unusual, you may think you are on the verge of losing your mind, going crazy, or going insane.
You might experience just a few thoughts that seem crazy, many crazy thoughts in brief episodes, or experience crazy thoughts all the time. The types of crazy thoughts can change from one type to many different types over the course of time.
The crazy thoughts symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other sensations and symptoms, or occur all by itself.
The crazy thoughts can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.
The crazy thoughts can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. The crazy thoughts symptoms can also come in waves, where they are strong one moment and then ease off the next.
The crazy thoughts might occur rarely, frequently, or persistently, and may change from day to day, and even moment to moment.
The content of the crazy thoughts can remain the same throughout your struggle with anxiety disorder, or change constantly.
All of the above combinations and variations are common.
Many people experience an increase in the crazy thoughts when fatigued or due to a lack of sleep.
The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including having crazy thoughts.
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What causes the crazy thoughts anxiety symptoms?
Being stressed and anxious (worried, apprehensive, fretful, fearful) causes the body to produce the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response. A part of these changes affect how the brain functions.
For example, stress responses increase our awareness of danger but at the same time diminish our ability to rationalize (it’s better that we immediately react to danger than it is to take time to rationalize). Because of this change, we can experience an increase in thoughts of danger, urgency, and calamity but have a reduced ability to make sense of them.
The stress response also causes the electrical activity in amygdala, which is considered to be the fear center of the brain, to increase. This increase can cause an increase in thought generation, and these thoughts can have a more threatening tone.
Furthermore, the stress response also causes other parts of the brain to become suppressed, which diminishes their capability. So when the stress response is active, we can experience a wide variety of anxious and bizarre thinking.
Moreover, when the body becomes stress-response hyperstimulated (chronically stressed) due to too frequent stress responses, such as from overly apprehensive behavior, the changes in brain function can become persistent. Consequently we can experience episodes of a wide variety of unusual, crazy, irrational, and bizarre thoughts. The content of these thoughts can be so unusual that many anxious people react to them with fear, thinking that they may be experiencing a serious brain malfunction.
To summarize, an active stress response and/or stress-response hyperstimulation is the reason why we can experience crazy thoughts and think we are on the verge of going crazy. In other words, experiencing crazy thoughts is a common indication of an active stress response and/or stress-response hyperstimulation.
There are many other reasons why anxiety and chronic stress can cause 'crazy' thoughts. We explain the ‘crazy thoughts’ anxiety symptom in more detail in the Symptoms section and in the “Hyperstimulation And Its Effects” section in Chapter 14 in the Recovery Support area of our website.
Even though it can seem like you are about to lose your mind when the crazy thoughts anxiety symptoms occur, you can’t. There is no link between anxiety caused crazy thoughts and actually going crazy.
Again, the crazy thoughts anxiety symptoms are merely indications of an active stress response and/or stress-response hyperstimulation. As such, they needn’t be a cause for concern. THEY ARE NOT AN INDICATION OF A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS.
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How to get rid of the crazy thoughts anxiety symptoms?
When the anxiety crazy thoughts symptoms are caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, these crazy thoughts symptoms should subside. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
When the anxiety crazy thoughts symptoms are caused by persistently elevated stress (stress-response hyperstimulation), it may take a lot more time for the body to recover and to the point where this symptom is eliminated.
We explain why recovering from hyperstimulation can take a long time, and much longer than most people think, in chapters 4, 6, and 14 in the Recovery Support area.
Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered from its overly stressed state, the crazy thoughts anxiety symptoms completely subside. Therefore, again, anxiety crazy thoughts symptoms needn’t be a cause for concern. They are NOT an indication of serious mental illness, but are common for anxiousness and chronic stress.
You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about these types of symptoms. Sure, anxiety crazy thoughts symptoms can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or chronic stress, the crazy thoughts symptoms completely disappear.
If you are having difficulty containing your worry about the crazy thoughts symptoms, you may want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder counselors. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder counselor is the most effective ways to overcome what seems like unmanageable worry and stubborn anxiety.
For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including the crazy thoughts symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.
Common Anxiety Symptoms
- For a comprehensive list of Anxiety Disorders Symptoms Signs, Types, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.
- Anxiety and panic attacks symptoms can be powerful experiences. Find out what they are and how to stop them.
- How to stop an anxiety attack and panic.
- Free online anxiety tests to screen for anxiety. Two minute tests with instant results. Such as:
- Anxiety 101 is a summarized description of anxiety, anxiety disorder, and how to overcome it.
Return to our anxiety disorders signs and symptoms page.
anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including the anxiety symptom crazy thoughts.
2. Folk, Jim and Folk, Marilyn. “The Stress Response And Anxiety Symptoms.” anxietycentre.com, August 2019.
3. Hannibal, Kara E., and Mark D. Bishop. “Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014.
4. Justice, Nicholas J., et al. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Like Induction Elevates β-Amyloid Levels, Which Directly Activates Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurons to Exacerbate Stress Responses.” Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 11 Feb. 2015.