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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/feel like the world is full of danger and traps

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I always feel like the world is full of dangers and traps, that one wrong move can have disastrous consequences. For instance, I'm afraid to try something I've never eaten before in case I develop severe allergy to it, and every time I plan to go out I worry primarily about whether I would feel good on the trip, what if I feel off, fall sick, etc. I am very attuned to 'warnings' - I worry about the effect of sleeping late on health, for instance, and I steer off poultry when bird flu strikes up in the news. I know it's probably not healthy and I actively try to stop myself from avoiding these situations, but afterwards I am always plagued by doubt and apprehension (eg. I ate a half-boiled egg yesterday, what if it was infected with the bird flu virus?).

I am often plagued by these apprehensions and when they strike, I get distracted and would focus on these worries for a period of time. When one worry ends, another would begin. There just seems to be so many downfalls and traps out there! A lot of the uncertainty comes from external factors - I am rarely scared of things that I can control, for example public speeches, exams, etc.

I know most people don't feel this way, so how do I stop feeling like one misstep in the world will lead to ruin? How do I put things into perspective? How can I convince myself to feel safe, or at least a little safer?

Thanks for any advice you may give.

Answer
No, most people are not plagued by this type of obsessive thinking. This is an exceellent reason for you to be involved in psychotherapy.  While everything you say is true, the real issue is the likelihood these things will happen, all of which are so small you have a better chance of winning the lottery (which you do not seem to worry about).  Psychotherapy can be helpful to correct this incorrect thinking.  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Daniel S. Harrop, M.D.

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Dr. Daniel S. Harrop received his B.A. and his M.D., both from Brown, and his M.B.A. from the Edinburgh Business School, Scotland. Board-certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry, he is a past president of the R.I. Psychiatric Society and a member of the Committee on Medical Quality of the American Psychiatric Association and the Committee on Continuing Medical Education of the R.I Medical Society. He serves as a consultant to four of the top five major medical management companies, including OptumHealth/United Healthcare, Magellan Behavioral Health Services, ValueOptions and APS Healthcare, and maintains a private practice in Providence, R.I. He also serves as chief psychiatric consultant on the Medical Advisory Board at the R.I. Workers Compensation Court. He was formerly on the faculty at the medical schools at both Brown University and Harvard University.

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