Patients usually complain of the sudden appearance of a multitude of thoughts, memories, images of absurd content, unusual for a given person and current circumstances. Quickly being replaced, they do not give focus on any of them. However, it is impossible to get rid of this stream. Most of these episodes are short-lived, the person does not have time to figure out anything, and the attack has already passed. Nevertheless, a feeling of painfulness of what was happening remains, patients evaluate mentality as the first signs of impending insanity.
Usually, after an attack, people cannot coherently describe what they saw or thought about. All are united in the fact that images, ideas, memories change very quickly, not allowing to concentrate on anything. Drive them away from themselves, switch to something else does not work. At the time of the attack, the person as if leaves the real world, losing the ability to rationally think and act, at the same time remaining in consciousness and aware of what is happening.
In most cases, there are lighter short-term episodes of mentism, lasting a few seconds or minutes. Patients note the sudden appearance of separate ideas that are absolutely not in line with the course of current thinking, sometimes frightening content, wild and not peculiar to a given person. They come unexpectedly, as if from the outside, and almost immediately disappear. Such thoughts violate the harmony of the thinking process, drawing attention to themselves by their absurdity, exhausting the human psyche.
Long, up to several days, episodes of mentism are even more debilitating. Patients complain that the flow does not stop either day or night. Sometimes they turn into dreams, just as chaotic, frightening and incomprehensible.
Hypnagogic mentism is a kind of influx of images, frames replacing each other, pictures, some fragments that are not related to each other by a common theme. Images can be flat and voluminous, black and white and color. Patients see silhouettes, spots and whirlwinds, circles, fragments of cities and streets, animals, flowers. Images can be clear and consistent, blurred and fragmented. They are united by one thing - they appear unexpectedly, forcibly and the patient cannot stop their flow. The figurative (hypnagogic) mentism often occurs in a patient when he closes his eyes, in most cases this happens when he falls asleep. Patients confidently differentiate mentality before bedtime from the dreams themselves and note that sometimes the influx of images gradually goes into sleep. It is this type of mentality that can be observed in a perfectly healthy person - before going to sleep after a day full of exciting events, a stream of uninvited and incoherent thoughts or images can invade.
The content of thoughts can be different - just strange, alarming, pessimistic, joyful, to have an accusatory character. With long-term attacks of mentism, the person’s mood, his speech and behavior correspond to this content, and the thoughts themselves reflect the background of his mood and correspond to the patient’s psycho-type and diagnosis.
In depressive disorders, obsessive thoughts flow in the nature of negativism, self-accusation, hopelessness. Patients often imagine the misfortunes and diseases (hypochondriacal mentality) that lie in wait for them and their close people. They come to mind scenes of death, disaster, funeral. The patient is afraid of such a development of events in reality, however, these thoughts fascinate his imagination.
During neurosis, mentism often arises in hysterical or asthenic types. Asthenics feel an influx of thoughts, reflecting their lack of self-confidence and their own abilities. The content of ideas and images is often associated with irritants, attacks can be caused by loud sounds, bright light, strong odors.
Accelerated influx of thoughts and mentism belong to the same type of thought disorder. His pace is broken. In the case of mentism - greatly accelerated. However, tachyphenia or the accelerated pace of thinking, even its vortex form is still accompanied by the presence of associative connections between alternating thoughts. Such a state is characterized by increased distractibility of the patient, not too coherent and not always finished choking speech, but still the meaning of the statements can be understood. It is understandable to the patient, who, although confused, can bring it to the listener. A surge of ideas is usually accompanied by a loud, quick speech.
Poor speech or lack thereof is characteristic of mentism. It is also called "dumb leap of ideas." Whirling successive ideas, images, thoughts are so absurd and incomparable that the patient can only watch their flow. Neither can he stop him, nor can he redirect. Thoughts do not have time to acquire speech design, the patient often falls silent and falls into a stupor.
Experts refer mentism and sperrungi to manifestations of small automatism. These opposing symptoms, an influx and blockade of thoughts, are observed mainly in the manifestation of schizophrenia and in schizophrenia-like disorders, when the patient does not yet have a pronounced mental defect, and he is critical of attacks. Many psychiatrists see these symptoms as the forerunners of the coming alienation of thoughts. Later, when delusions of influence take possession of the sick, criticism of the attacks of mentism weakens and disappears altogether.
Mentism in schizophrenia is characterized by prolonged episodes of ideal vortex flows, which leave the patient for increasingly shorter periods of time.