Disorders of the Form of Thought
Form of thought
Form of thought is the way people experience or express thoughts and the way thoughts proceed one after the other irrespective of their quantity. It helps in the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders.
Normal thinking forms include the following.
- Dereistic Thinking (daydreams)
- Imaginative thinking
- Rational thinking
Formal Thought Disorder
- The term ‘formal thought disorder’ is a synonym for disorders of conceptual or abstract thinking that are most seen in schizophrenia and organic brain disorders.
- In schizophrenia, disorders in the form of thinking may coexist with deficits in cognition, and these forms of thought disturbance may prove difficult to distinguish in certain cases.
- Cameron used the term ‘Asyndesis’ to describe the lack of adequate connections between successive thoughts.
- Cameron placed particular emphasis on ‘over-inclusion’, which is an inability to narrow down the operations of thinking and bring into action the organized attitudes and specific responses relevant to the task at hand
the patient retains a constellation of ideas long after they have ceased to be appropriate, for example, “where do you live?”, “London”, “How old are you”, “London”…
Explanatory concepts for formal thought disorder
- Loss of association (asyndesis)
- Concrete Thinking – inability to think abstractly; unable to differentiate between primary and secondary meanings of words
- Loss of redundancy (Cloze technique)
- Loss of internal monitoring with consequent inability to ‘repair’ thought processes (Frith)
- Impaired semantic memory or impaired access to this.
- Verschmelzung: fusion, ‘melting’,
- Faseln: muddling
- Entgleiten: snapping off
- Entgleisen: derailment