Definitions of Deprivation of Thoughts

Deprivation of Thoughts

Patients with mind deprivation experience an ego disorder. They feel that their own thoughts are being halted from the outside. Mind deprivation is a common symptom of schizophrenia and is often associated with derealization.

What is Mind Deprivation?

In the context of a psychotic state, patients often report so-called deprivation of thoughts. This deprivation of thoughts is considered a positive symptom in the context of various mental illnesses and is referred to as an ego disorder. Those affected experience themselves subjectively as externally influenced in the context of various illnesses.

They feel that they experience their own thoughts as missing in certain situations. Often they also report that their thoughts simply tear off or are brought to a standstill by some force. From then on, they do not perceive what controls and drives them to be part of themselves. The subjectively perceived deprivation of thoughts can also be reflected in the language and cognitive behavior of those affected and only then become apparent to the therapist.

The deprivation of thoughts is particularly often associated with erratic and systemless language or manifests itself again and again in communication through an incoherent insertion. Like all positive symptoms, mind withdrawal is seen as an excess over an objectively healthy state that is close to a manifest hallucination.


Thought deprivation usually occurs in the context of ego disturbances. These are modes of experience from which the boundary between the self and the environment is disturbed. The patient’s personal experience of unity or ego is distorted. In addition to pure disturbances of the boundary between the ego and the environment, such as depersonalization, a lack of the ability to perceive the ego in isolation can also be described as an ego disturbance.

Furthermore, phenomena often occur which give one’s own experience content on the level of thinking the subjective aftertaste of manipulation. In this context, the patients suffer from external influences. If an ego disorder is a pure ego perception disorder in the sense of experiencing external influences, the symptoms are usually associated with delusional symptoms or at least show a smooth transition to it.

The result is disturbed behavior on the part of the person concerned. Thought deprivation is a common symptom, especially in the experience of being influenced by others. Instead of controlling themselves with their own thoughts, those affected experience themselves as remote-controlled. Such ego disorders with deprivation of thoughts occur increasingly in the context of schizophrenia. Thought deprivation is therefore referred to as a positive symptom of this condition.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

Even the thoughts of healthy people are not brought to an end in certain situations. As an example, decreasing concentration can make it difficult to pursue individual thoughts. Thought deprivation has nothing to do with these physiologically normal forms. Rather, deprivation of thoughts is a kind of delusion that necessarily goes hand in hand with the idea of outside influence.

Those affected believe that some kind of power brings their thoughts to a standstill in order to control their behavior and their ways of thinking. Often this power is concretized by the patient. Those affected often named them by the names of other people, describe them as Satan, interpret them as aliens or a secret service. If there is no experience of external influence, one cannot definitely speak of a symptom of deprivation of thoughts.

In most cases, people with mind deprivation experience accompanying symptoms such as depersonalization or derealization. For example, they often experience their environment generally as distorted or distant. In some cases they also experience parts of their own body or their entire body as alienated. They often no longer experience the environment as a reality.

Outwardly, strong mistrust and attempts to isolate yourself from supposed mind-reading can indicate deprivation of thoughts. It is possible that the person concerned confronts his environment directly with a corresponding accusation. In all cases, however, it is important to consider alternative explanations for this behavior and not automatically assume that thoughts are deprived.

Diagnosis & course

The diagnosis of deprivation of thoughts is made by the psychologist or psychotherapist. On a larger scale, the diagnosed symptom of deprivation of thoughts serves as evidence of an ego disorder, usually as evidence of schizophrenia. The prognosis for people with mind deprivation depends heavily on the primary cause.

If schizophrenic delusions cause the symptom, the prognosis is relatively poor. Schizophrenia is difficult to treat because of the ego syntony associated with it, as patients suffer from an inability to see their own delusions and illness.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the person concerned repeatedly shows abnormal behavior that is perceived by people in the area as being above the norm, a doctor should be consulted. If delusions arise, if the person concerned is unable to understand his or her way of thinking and acting, or if the person concerned makes confused statements, a doctor is required. If thoughts are not thought through to the end in a continuous form in different situations, this is considered unusual and should be medically clarified.

If there are strong fluctuations in concentration or if there are interruptions in attention, a doctor’s visit is necessary. As soon as you get the feeling that your own thoughts are being controlled, interrupted or regulated by an external body, it is advisable to consult a doctor. The perception of an external influence on one’s own experience and cognitions is considered worrying and must be medically examined and treated.

If the person concerned has no connection to the immediate environment or if their own body is perceived as not belonging, a doctor is required to clarify the cause. In the event of a derealization, the person concerned needs help and must therefore be presented to a doctor. If further behavior problems such as aggressive appearance, disturbed actions and memory disorders can be observed, these should be examined by a doctor.

Treatment & Therapy

Treating those with mind deprivation is usually the same as treating the primary cause. Antipsychotics have become established for the therapy of schizophrenia patients. In a cognitive therapy, the patient is ideally given a new perspective on their own thoughts that are perceived as alien. The aim of therapy is to question opinions and assessments regarding the content of thoughts and their assignment to external sources.

As soon as the patients no longer perceive their thoughts as foreign thoughts, the deprivation of thoughts improves. Nonetheless, schizophrenia in particular is characterized by associative loosening. This means that the patient’s ways of thinking and cognitive brain processes become alienated and gradually turn into manifest delusions, often without any recognizable systemic context.

Since the patients mostly refuse to accept their delusions as such, psychotherapy and all other forms of talk therapy often do not lead to the desired goal. Drug treatment is often the only sensible therapy option. The cure from manifest schizophrenia is hardly attainable. The schizophrenic episodes, including the deprivation of thoughts, can, however, be mitigated and sometimes even delayed with antipsychotics.

Outlook & forecast

The prognoses in the presence of an imagined deprivation of thoughts from outside are relatively poor. Those affected mostly suffer from a disturbed sense of self. Treatment is difficult because the cause of the supposed deprivation of thoughts is often found in schizophrenic delusions. Those affected lack insight into the nature of their illness.

The deprivation of thoughts is not the sole characteristic of the disease. A positive prognosis would be possible if the underlying disorder is treated successfully. The statistics say that about 60 to 80 percent of those with schizophrenia have relapses of schizophrenia. With this, the assumed deprivation of thoughts is often re-established.

It is true that the therapeutic options in the clinical area have improved considerably. Schizophrenia can be treated with antipsychotics or neuroleptics. The relapse rates that occurred earlier could be reduced by 40-50 percent. Nevertheless, the prognosis remains relatively unfavorable. Sufferers commit average more suicidal. Depressive symptoms intensify the feeling of inflammation in those affected by inexplicable external interventions.

The younger and better-off socially the affected are, the higher are their risks of not being able to cope with the supposed train of thought. However, a more favorable course is also possible. With an early start of therapy, stable living conditions, a supportive partner and as much stress avoidance as possible, the inflammation of thoughts as a symptom of a schizophrenic disorder can be overcome and successfully treated.


Deprivation of thoughts can only be prevented to the extent that the causal ego disturbances can be prevented. Comprehensive preventive measures are hardly available, especially for schizophrenia, since numerous individual factors play a role in addition to genetic disposition and psychosocial factors.


Depending on what triggered the deprivation of thoughts as a result of a psychosis, follow-up care would have to be designed according to the symptoms and the cause. If, for example, drug addiction was the cause of the deprivation of thoughts, drug withdrawal is probably not sufficient. Psychiatric follow-up care and admission to the methadone program would be recommended.

Experience has shown that there is a high relapse rate and the deprivation of thoughts could therefore also recur. If there is a different justified psychotic disorder or schizophrenia, the treatment is different. Here, too, long-term treatment and monitoring of those affected makes sense. However, a clearly defined diagnosis is important.

The deprivation of thoughts must take place through external influence. Since such diseases often occur in phases, the chances of recovery are usually low. Insight into illness is absent in schizophrenic delusions. Therefore, treatment is usually canceled, unsupported or circumvented. As a result, this also makes follow-up care more difficult.

Antipsychotics may make treatment possible. They alleviate the symptoms. But they cannot do anything against the disease itself. Follow-up care could be cognitive therapy or behavioral therapy. But this would have to take place in the long term. It requires the patient to participate.

In view of the clinical picture of schizophrenia, this is rather unlikely. Therefore, those affected see their delusions as real and lack any insight and willingness to cooperate.

Deprivation of Thoughts