The relationship between anxiety, phobias and obsessions

Anxiety is a psychological and physiological phenomenon that causes many mental disorders. In this article we will see the relationship between anxiety and phobias, obsessions and panic attacks.

    What do we mean by anxiety?

    Today we hear the concepts of “stress and anxiety” in many areas. But really … what is stress, what is anxiety, and what can it trigger if not properly controlled?

    Simply put, stress can be understood as a subject’s reaction to an unfamiliar situation, perceived as tense or dangerous, Unpleasant object / person or situation. It can appear as:

    • Reply: The individual has total control, because it has an internal origin.
    • stimulus: Its origin is external and the subject has no control over it.
    • interaction: It is the relationship between the person and the context which, according to him, exceeds his resources and endangers his well-being.

    Difference between anxiety state and trait

    When this “normal” stress is not properly controlled, it evolves to a certain extent and becomes anxiety; understand this concept as a feeling of alarm of strong intensity, of long duration, of a disruptive and debilitating nature and most often arising from trivial things. It is a universal emotion and serves as an adaptive response of an organism in the face of stress.

    The important thing is to differentiate between the anxious state and the trait. The first is based on anxiety at a certain point, in reaction to a particular circumstance. The second is the tendency to remain anxious for a long period of time and is the usual way of dealing with everyday circumstances.

    When this anxiety focuses on specific objects or situations, it is called a phobia.; when it occurs during episodic attacks, it is called panic; or it can be more irregular, as in the case of obsessions.

    Anxiety symptoms

    The main symptoms of anxiety fall into the following categories.


    • Palpitations.
    • Difficulty in breathing.
    • Dry mouth.
    • Nausea and dizziness.
    • Frequent urination.
    • Muscle tension.
    • sweat.
    • Tremors.


    • Feelings of fear and threat.
    • Irritability.
    • panic.
    • Intrinsic terror.
    • Difficulty concentrating.
    • Insomnia.

    • Inability to relax.

    Syndromes associated with the anxiety component

    The 3 main anxiety syndromes are as follows.

    1. Generalized anxiety disorder

    It is a concern centered on day-to-day affairs. The characteristic elements of ideation are questions of personal danger and physical harm.

      2. Social anxiety and specific phobias

      It is a disproportionate fear of a specific situation, object or person. They cannot be explained or reasoned, they are not under the voluntary control of the person and fear leads to avoiding the dreaded situation. They can be both external and internal stimuli.

        3. Anxiety disorder

        He shares the symptoms of generalized anxiety, there is an extreme feeling of fear and it contains panic attacks; these appear suddenly and the average duration is between 10 and 20 minutes, time during which the symptoms are at a very high degree of intensity.

        It can be divided into two types: respiratory type (with pain and discomfort in the chest, seeking air, paresthesias and suffocation) or non-respiratory.

        Obsessions and compulsions

        On the other hand, obsessions and compulsions they are thoughts, images, impulses, ruminations or fears and acts, rituals and behaviors, Respectively. An important thing to note is that the subject preserves his insight, knows his obsessions are irrational, but still cannot avoid them.

        The main elements that constitute an obsessive-compulsive experience are:

        • The trigger that triggers the obsession.
        • The obsession itself.
        • Dissatisfaction and guilt.
        • compulsive urgency, Need to perform certain behaviors.
        • Fear of disaster.
        • Heightened sense of responsibility.
        • Behaviors with which he seeks security.
        • Avoidance of stimuli or situations that can trigger obsessions or compulsions.
        • Interruption of social functioning.
        • Resistance.

        In these cases, what can cause anxiety in these cases is both the waste of time invested in these obsessions and compulsions, and the physiological discomfort that this state of activation causes and being wrong in the face of society and act in a way different from what it sets or expected standards.


        Having hobbies, extracurricular activities, relaxation time and time for oneself are measures to prevent the development of any anxiety pathology.

        Self-knowledge and self-observation are important in knowing how to react to stressful situations and the coping skills that we each have, so that we know if we still have areas of opportunity in which we can work or if we need to develop new strategies because the ones we have are no longer effective. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

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