Q. I regularly have intrusive thoughts, they are just like a nightmare but I am never asleep, I am fully awake. I have had them for years and nothing triggers them they just at any time play in my head. They are horrific and are always extremely violent, involving men hurting, raping, killing, beating, me or my husband and or young daughter of 8. I never remember having any sleeping dreams ever, mine happen while I am awake. I am a very average woman with a very loving family that I adore. I can’t turns these nightmares off in my head when they start and I just continue to go about my business while they happen. They are starting to upset me, because I have had them for so long and they are so violent. they never seem to follow a pattern and last only breifly but I can’t seem to make them stop. Please help is there a name for this and how do I rid myself of it?

A. I do not know necessarily if this is a condition per say or what the exact origins of these intrusive thoughts are. I can say that they do seem unusual especially since you cannot seem to pinpoint any reason why they might be occurring. If they keep occurring to a bothersome degree, I would suggest that you see a therapist to explore these thoughts more deeply. Some people might consider medication to stop these thoughts instead of the therapist but that is a choice you will have to make. Either one may be effective. I cannot give you an answer on how to prevent these thoughts since I am unsure about why they are occurring but I can recommend that if they continue, and are bothering you, professional help may be warranted.