Magical Thinking Explained

Sometimes, magical thinking can serve as a symptom of an underlying mental health condition. This type of magical thinking usually feels uncontrollable and creates a lot of distress.

Here’s a look at how magical thinking can pop up in different conditions.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Magical thinking (also called magical ideation) commonly occurs as part of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD typically engage in specific rituals, or compulsions, to quiet the obsessive thoughts they experience.

Someone might believe, for example, they’ll get into a car accident unless they tap the hood of their car three times.

While some people with OCD perform these rituals without really believing they have power, others have a strong conviction that failing to perform the ritual would have negative consequences.

Anxiety

People with anxiety often have high levelsTrusted Source of magical thinking.

For example, you might:

  • spend a lot of time worrying about outcomes that are less likely or realistic
  • believe planning for every possible negative outcome can protect you against those outcomes
  • find it hard to take concrete action because of your worries

https://www.healthline.com/health/magical-thinking#mental-health

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