OCD is an anxiety disorder, and there are several anxiety disorders which we will discuss in the following pages.
First, the basis of anxiety disorders is fear, and fear can be experienced in many ways. The most basic fear experience is a panic attack.
A panic attack is an intense feeling of fear that reaches a peak within ten minutes and has four or more of the following symptoms:
• pounding heart
• trembling or shaking
• shortness of breath
• choking feelings
• chest pain or discomfort
• nausea or abdominal distress
• feelings of dizziness, unsteadiness, light-headedness, or faintness
• derealization (feeling out of touch with reality) or depersonalization (feeling outside of one’s body)
• fear of losing control or going crazy
• fear of dying
• numbness or tingling sensations
• chills or hot flashes
Panic attacks can occur in relation to specific fears, such as prior to giving a speech, or they can occur at random times throughout the day.
Panic attacks can also occur in relation to OCD because people may get so stressed about their obsessions or compulsions that the stress may lead them to having a panic attack. Or if they are unable to complete their compulsion, that may also trigger a panic attack.