Thought Withdrawal

Thought withdrawal is a delusion that occurs when a person believes that a person or entity has removed thoughts from his or her mind.

What is Thought Withdrawal?

Thought withdrawal, like other delusions, persists despite evidence that the delusion is false. People experiencing thought withdrawal may experience other irregularities in behavior and thinking such as thought blocking. People might experience speech abnormalities such as stopping suddenly in a sentence or jumping rapidly from topic to topic when they are experiencing delusions of thought withdrawal.

When thought withdrawal accompanies another mental health problem, people experiencing the condition might use it as evidence of paranoid suspicions. For example, a person with paranoid personality might insist that the government is removing thoughts from his or her head. Someone with schizophrenia might experience thought withdrawal in conjunction with several other delusions.

What Causes Thought Withdrawal?

Thought withdrawal typically accompanies a mental health condition, and is commonly associated with schizophrenia. However, paranoid personality, persecutory delusions, and other mental health conditions can also contribute to a belief in thought withdrawal. Hallucinogenic drugs, drug and alcohol withdrawal, and stroke-induced brain injuries may also cause delusions of thought withdrawal.

How is Thought Withdrawal Treated?

Because thought withdrawal most commonly accompanies schizophrenia, clinicians will likely look for other indications of schizophrenia. Therapy, possibly in conjunction with antipsychotic medication and/or lifestyle changes, can reduce symptoms and help people with schizophrenia cope with their condition. When no other symptoms are present, doctors may check for brain injuries or drug and alcohol use. Depending upon the cause of the thought withdrawal, doctors may order medication, drug treatment, or patient monitoring.


  1. American Psychological Association. APA concise dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2009. Print.
  2. Colman, A. M. (2006). Oxford dictionary of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  3. Delusions. (n.d.). Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 01-19-2018

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  • Queendalene

    February 22nd, 2021 at 1:47 AM

    Nice piece

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