Oct 19

Sigmund Freud Anxiety theory

Definition of Anxiety:

According to Freud, anxiety is an unpleasant inner state that people seek to avoid.

Anxiety acts as a signal to the EGO ( *pay attention fans: not Id or Superego) that things are not going right.

Freud identified three types of anxiety:

A. Reality Anxiety
B. Neurotic Anxiety
C. Moral anxiety

1. Reality Anxiety or Realistic Anxiety:

It is a type of anxiety that the object does exist.

Overall, it is a fear of the real world events


If Robert is anxious about to be bitten by a dog which is standing in front of her. he has a reality anxiety.

Basically, the cause of this kind of anxiety is usually easily identified.

Another good example of Reality Anxiety is fear of an earthquake.

The most common way of reducing the Reality Anxiety is to keep away from or to avoid from the threatening object.

2. Neurotic Anxiety:

It is a type of anxiety that the object *doesn’t exist.*

Many people suffer from neurotic anxiety in a lot of countries.


If Jason is worrying about his Professor because he is a cold one, without smile, and suddenly Jason feels that he is angry toward him, and he is being anxious to be his object of the anger. This is a neurotic anxiety that Jason is experiencing.

3. Moral anxiety:

Moral anxiety involves a fear of violating our own moral principles. Moral anxiety is a fear of doing something that violates our moral code. It occurs when the ego feels threatened by the superego (our moral range) as a response to us breaking our own principles, and NOT following our morals and values.

Example 1:

Anahid who has to drink a lot of water due to her diabetic problem during fasting time at work .

By drinking water, she has a fear of violating moral principles of her environment during fasting time.

Moral Anxiety is basically a type of anxiety that people anxious about something that doesn’t match their conscience, principles, and sense of right or wrong.

Example 2:

Michel is anxious about to cheat on her exam or not, in a condition, she has not studied last night.

Michel is experiencing moral anxiety since she knows cheating is breaking the code and rules of university, and neurotic anxiety, which is she is worrying about to be caught by the professor.

Moral Anxiety is also the unconscious worrying that we will lose control of the id’s desires, and that is resulting in punishment for inappropriate behavior.

Example 1:

Carl likes to attend a party which is supposed to go on up to 2:00 AM in the morning on Thursday night.

Mean while, she is worrying about her neighbors and brother for coming home late.

Carl is experiencing moral anxiety that her neighbors will look at her as coming very late home , and in another direction she is worrying about to have confrontation with her brother after going home.

Now confrontation with her brother is sort of neurotic anxiety in Western society and it might be a reality anxiety in some Eastern Society. Therefore, Sima is experiencing Two anxieties at the same time.

Example 2:

Sara is always worrying about not responding to the dress code of school and is worrying of punishment “disciplines” by teachers or principal.

Sara feels moral anxiety as far the dress code (rules about what to wear in place) and along with the neurotic anxiety that is confrontation with the principal and teachers and perhaps some very conservative students.


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