Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Kurt FritzscheEmail author


Fear and anxiety are common and basic human experiences. Fear is pathological if it occurs disproportionately frequently and excessively, i.e. without adequate, real threat. When anxiety occurs too often, a patient loses control over it and tends to avoid situations and is thus restricted in his/her everyday life. The most important forms of anxiety disorders in psychosomatic primary care are panic disorder, agoraphobia and generalised anxiety disorder. Very often anxiety symptoms are hidden by physical symptoms. Basic psychosocial interventions include strengthening autonomy, explaining the vicious circle of fear and also relaxation techniques (breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation). The core features of obsessive compulsive disorder are obsessions (intrusive, unwanted thoughts) and compulsions (performance of highly ritualized behaviours intended to neutralise the negative thoughts and emotions resulting from the obsessions).


Fear and anxiety Panic disorder Agoraphobia Generalised anxiety disorder Hypochondriasis Vicious circle of fear 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and PsychotherapyCenter for Mental Health, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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