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Anxiety, Phobias, And OCD


What is anxiety, phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? The three conditions share some similarities but also carry distinct differences. If you believe you suffer from one or more of these disorders, take the time to understand their characteristics and how they may affect you. Understanding how you experience symptoms of anxiety, phobia, and OCD can help you collaborate with a therapist to improve your mental health.


We all feel stressed out and nervous from time to time, but what is anxiety in the medical sense? Anxiety is a sustained, worsening feeling of fear or dread that prevents sufferers from carrying out day-to-day tasks.

If your fears and worries prevent you from leaving the house, pursuing new career opportunities, or following through on social plans, it might be time to seek help from a therapist in evaluating and treating your symptoms. A therapist can help you express your fears, determine where they come from, and develop a treatment plan as anxiety is treatable.


Whereas anxiety is a generalized state of fear, a phobia is an overwhelming, irrational aversion to a specific object or situation. Most phobias do not usually manifest on a regular basis but can cause severe panic (complete with physical symptoms) in situations where an individual faces his or her fear directly.

Common phobias include fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of going out in public (agoraphobia), fear of spiders (arachnophobia), and fear of germs (mysophobia or germophobia). Sometimes, sufferers can make reasonable changes to their lifestyles to avoid the things they’re afraid of, but phobias can also reach the point where they’re overwhelming. In those situations, therapists can treat phobias through psychoanalysis, exposure therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).


Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by an excessive focus or fixation, whether it’s on organization, perfectionism, cleanliness, or irrational thoughts that interferes with one’s functionality in daily life. OCD sufferers may spend hours of their typical day cleaning, showering, rearranging items, counting or repeating, or acting on other seemingly random compulsions that take over their thought process.

Therapy can help those who suffer from OCD. Therapists can work with you to steer you away from your obsession and/or compulsion, and toward more productive, healthy activities. You and your therapist can also explore the root causes of your compulsion, addressing the root causes of your compulsions with the goal of preventing them from dominating your life.

Help Is Available

If you suspect that you have any sort of anxiety order that disrupts your daily life, do not hesitate about reaching out to a trained professional who can help you get to the root of your anxiety, address the issue, and come up with an effective treatment plan.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our Anxiety Counseling page or call 919-647-4600.

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