Racing thoughts refers to the rapid thought patterns that often occur in manic, hypomanic, or mixed episodes. While racing thoughts are most commonly described in people with bipolar disorder, they are also common with anxiety disorders, such as OCD and psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Racing thoughts are also associated with use of amphetamines, sleep deprivation, as well as hypothyroidism.[medical citation needed]
Racing thoughts may be experienced as background or take over a person's consciousness. Thoughts, music, and voices might be zooming through one's mind as they jump tangentially from one to the next.  There also might be a repetitive pattern of voice or of pressure without any associated "sound". It is a very overwhelming and irritating feeling, and can result in losing track of time.
Generally, racing thoughts are described by an individual who has had an episode as an event where the mind uncontrollably brings up random thoughts and memories and switches between them very quickly. Sometimes they are related, as one thought leads to another; other times they seem completely random. A person suffering from an episode of racing thoughts has no control over his or her train of thought and it stops them from focusing on one topic or prevents sleeping.
Racing thoughts, also referred to as "racing mind", may prevent a person from falling asleep. Chronic sleep apnea and prolonged disturbed sleep patterns may also induce racing thoughts. Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Airway Disorder can improve airflow and improve sleep resulting in improved brain and REM function and reduced racing thought patterns.
- Fritscher, Lisa Fritscher (February 26, 2012). "Racing Thoughts Defined". About.com Phobias. About.com. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- What Are Racing Thoughts? – Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
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