Other Anxiety Disorders [NIMH Anxiety Booklet, 2012]


Phobias—the excessive, persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity—can cause some individuals to take great measures to avoid what they fear. There are 3 types of phobias:

  • Specific phobia: excessive fear of an object or situation that is generally not harmful, eg, fear of flying or of spiders.
  • Social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder): Significant worry and discomfort about being embarrassed or looked down on in certain social situations—eg, public speaking, meeting people, or using public restrooms.
  • Agoraphobia: Fear of being in situations from which escape is difficult or embarrassing or in which help may not be available if panic symptoms develop.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessions are recurrent, distressing, and irrational thoughts that cause great anxiety. Common obsessions include preoccupations with dirt or germs, nagging doubts, and a need to have things in a specific order. In an effort to control their obsessions, many people with OCD engage in repeated behavior or compulsions—e.g., repeated hand washing, constant rechecking to satisfy doubts, and following rigid rules of order.




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