Home » Anxiety » Blogs » Anxiety and OCD Exposed » Anxiety, OCD, and Fears of Radiation

Anxiety, OCD, and Fears of Radiation

anxiety and JapanThe events unfolding in Japan are frightening. Many of us remember drills in elementary school when we sat under our desks hiding from potential air strikes during the cold war. We read about radiation poisoning and knew that our wooden desks were no protection from those horrors.

People with OCD often have exaggerated fears of becoming contaiminated and radiation is a common concern. We know that for those with this particular fear, the possible melt-down of nuclear power plants can increase their symptoms. We have a few suggestions for those with OCD and those who care about them.

  • Talk about your fears with your therapist.
  • Limit the time you spend watching the news or reading about the problem on the internet.
  • Realize that the odds of something bad happening to you personally as a result of this disaster is likely pretty small.
  • Try to realize that life is full of uncertainty.
  • If you are close to someone with OCD, do not engage in endless discussions to reassure the person.
  • Pray and send loving thoughts to those who are suffering in Japan–but go on living your life as best as you can.

>Photo by Topato, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Anxiety, OCD, and Fears of Radiation

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D.

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as personality disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and learning disorders. Dr. Smith is a widely published author of articles and books to the profession and the public, including: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (2E), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder For Dummies, Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies, Anxiety and Depression Workbook For Dummies, Depression For Dummies, Hollow Kids: Recapturing the Soul of a Generation Lost to the Self-Esteem Myth, and Why Can’t I Be the Parent I Want to Be? Her website is:

6 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Smith, L. (2011). Anxiety, OCD, and Fears of Radiation. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from


Last updated: 16 Mar 2011
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Mar 2011
Published on All rights reserved.