internal Phobias – Anxiety is experienced when thoughts about a particular internal situation become all-consuming and pre-occupying.
Strictly, this is not a Phobia but rather an Anxiety Disorder characterised by recurrent obsessions (persistent ideas, thoughts or images) or compulsions (repetitive behaviours) which are time consuming, intrusive and regarded as unreasonable.
The obsessions cause anxiety and distress. The individual attempts to counteract them by ignoring or suppressing them but is unable to.
The compulsions lead to repetitive behaviours (rituals) to reduce the anxiety or distress. Well known rituals include; hand-washing, checking, ordering neatly.
In all events the person’s life is affected negatively and the behaviours/thoughts occupying over an hour per day.
Relates to a pre-occupation with fears of having or believing to have, serious illness often based on a misperception of bodily signs or symptoms. Even after medical evaluation and reassurance the pre occupation continues, often with little insight that the concerns are excessive or unreasonable.
The condition leads to an assortment of behaviours and presentations to medical facilities, multiple testing and medical interventions. No amount of reassurance from negative results helps.
Where the preoccupation is not so much concerned with illness or disease but rather one of appearance then it becomes known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder. The focus may be on a particular feature found on the face (eg nose, lips, ears or hair) or indeed other any other part of the body. Irrespective of location much distress is caused by focusing on the area, projecting feelings of rejection on others and being unable to control their preoccupation. Reassurance as to normality and acceptability may be rejected or only temporarily accepted.