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4 Tutorials that teach Phobias and OCD
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Phobias and OCD

Phobias and OCD

Description:

This lesson will define and differentiate between specific phobia and social phobia. The symptoms involved with obsessive-compulsive disorder will be examined. Explain the difference between obsessions and compulsions.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

This lesson is going to cover anxiety disorders by looking at:

  1. Phobias
  2. OCD

1. Phobias

Anxiety disorders are disorders in which a person feels nervous or uneasy in some kind of pervasive, particularly strong, or unnecessary way, which can impair their life as a result. It can cause psychological stress on the person as well as physical symptoms.

ExampleSweating, rapid heart rate, an upset stomach, dizziness, and trouble concentrating are possible symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. The word phobia comes from the Greek word "phobos," which means fear. It's also the name of the Greek god of fear. A specific phobia, is any kind of strong, irrational fear of specific things or situations.

Example Hematophobia is a fear of blood, or coulrophobia is a fear of clowns.

Term to Know

    • Phobia
    • A strong, irrational fear of specific things or situations.

Specific phobias can also refer to things where a person has a fear that is rational, but is stronger than it really should be.

ExampleArachnophobia is a fear of spiders. Spiders can hurt you, however, a person that has arachnophobia can have a serious or debilitating reaction to them. If this person sees a spider, they might run screaming and not be able to control themselves until they get away from a spider.

One common type of phobia is social phobia, which is a fear of being in social situations and interacting with others in a public place. This has adverse consequences to a person.

Example If a person has a social phobia, they might decide to stay at home all the time, and may not be building personal relationships.

Term to Know

    • Social Phobia
    • Fear of being in social situations and interacting with others.

Phobias can be treated through different kinds of treatments. Desensitization is a behavioral treatment where a person is gradually and increasingly exposed to the thing that they're afraid of. Gradual exposure to the thing a person is afraid of helps to teach them that it's not something to necessarily be afraid of.

Example If a person has arachnophobia they might first be shown a picture of a spider. The next step may be being placed in a room with a spider on the other side of it. Gradually the person might move closer. This may end in actually holding the spider.


2. OCD

Another type of anxiety disorder is obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. This is a disorder where a person becomes especially preoccupied with certain kinds of thoughts or feelings, and has a strong motivation to perform certain kinds of actions. This is often a result of these thoughts and feelings that they're being preoccupied with.

These thoughts and feelings are called obsessions, and they are often unwanted and intrusive. It can create intense feelings of anxiety or worry in a person. Usually these thoughts are negative.

Example A person might constantly have a concern or fear of being hurt by something, or they might constantly feel unclean and have a compulsion to get clean in some way.

Terms to Know

    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • A disorder in which a person becomes preoccupied with certain thoughts or feels a strong motivation or requirement to perform certain actions.
    • Obsessions
    • Thoughts or feelings that are unwanted and intrusive and create intense anxiety or worry in the person.

Compulsions are any kind of actions that a person performs repeatedly, to reduce the feelings of anxiety they have. Usually, these compulsions are irrational. The actions don't actually prevent anything, but they help to distract the person or push those thoughts out of their mind in some way. Sometimes the compulsion must be done in a certain kind of way or in a certain number.

ExampleA person might have a sudden fear of being hurt that goes away when they count certain kinds of things like heart beats or footsteps.

Term to Know

    • Compulsions
    • Actions that person feels compelled to perform repeatedly to reduce feelings of anxiety from obsessions.

Another form of obsessive compulsive disorder is hoarding. A person may feel the need to keep everything or certain types of things.

ExampleA person might feel like they really need to keep every kind of cereal box to keep away their obsessions and the anxious thoughts that they have.

OCD is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy. The person learns to refrain from certain kinds of compulsive behavior and to recognize these irrational thought processes. Gradually a person will learn to reduce their stress and their anxiety, and to realize the compulsions don't necessarily help with their obsessions.

Summary

Anxiety disorders are disorders in which a person feels nervous or uneasy in a pervasive, strong, or unnecessary way. Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder in which a person has a strong irrational fear. This is often treated through desensitization. OCD is another type of anxiety disorder in which a person has an obsession which leads to compulsive behavior in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. This is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart

Key Terms

Phobia

A strong, irrational fear of specific things or situations.


Social Phobia
Fear of being in social situations and interacting with others.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
A disorder in which a person becomes preoccupied with certain thoughts or feels a strong motivation or requirement to perform certain actions.


Obsessions
Thoughts or feelings that are unwanted and intrusive and create intense anxiety or worry in the person.


Compulsions
Actions that person feels compelled to perform repeatedly to reduce feelings of anxiety from obsessions.