Anxiety Specialist

Ashraf Abaza, MD -  - Psychiatrist

TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County

Ashraf Abaza, MD

Psychiatrist & Psychopharmacologist located in Long Island, Northport, NY

Everyone deals with anxiety, but about 19% of adults have such overwhelming and persistent anxiety that their worries and fears disrupt their daily life, whether they take time away from work, stop going places they once enjoyed, or avoid the things that trigger anxiety. Dr. Ashraf Abaza at TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County has nearly 30 years of experience helping patients overcome their anxiety with effective medical treatment and ongoing therapeutic support. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Suffolk County, New York or use online booking.


When should you seek help for anxiety?

Anxiety triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response, which allows you to stay alert and face challenges, or escape if you need to protect yourself. Normal anxiety subsides as soon as the perceived threat is over, whether that “threat” was nervousness over a first date or a situation in which you faced physical harm.

When ongoing anxiety affects your ability to work and socialize or interferes with any aspect of your life, it’s no longer normal daily anxiety. In cases like this, when your anxiety persists in the absence of a triggering event and becomes an overwhelming fear, Dr. Abaza can help you find relief from your condition.

What are the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder is defined as having excessive anxiety and worry for at least six months. During that time, you may feel apprehensive as you struggle to control your anxiety. You’ll also have symptoms such as:

  • Restlessness, feeling on edge or tense
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or having your mind go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

Anxiety can also cause a range of physical symptoms, such as an upset stomach or frequently needing to use the bathroom.

You may experience unpredictable panic attacks, which are sudden, overwhelming anxieties or fears when no real danger is present. Many patients describe panic attacks as feeling like they’re dying because they have symptoms such as shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, a tight feeling in their chest, and hyperventilation.

What are phobias?

A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no danger. A few examples of common phobias include fear of flying, spiders, escalators, tunnels, water, and small or enclosed places. Even though you know the fear is irrational, you can't quench the severe anxiety every time you face the object or situation.

One common type of phobia, agoraphobia, is a fear of being in a public place, often because it’s too open, too crowded, or perceived as dangerous. You may be fearful of using public transportation or being outside your home. Untreated agoraphobia can get so severe that you can't leave your house.

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

As its name indicates, patients with OCD experience obsessions and compulsions:


Obsessions are recurring and persistent thoughts, ideas, or impulses that you can’t stop, even though they’re unwanted and you know they’re irrational. Examples of typical obsessions include fear of germs, disturbing thoughts about aggressive behavior, and the need for symmetry.


Although you can have obsession without compulsion, most patients develop both. When you have a compulsion, you’re compelled to perform specific behaviors to ease the anxiety caused by your obsession. The compulsive action may not be associated with the obsession.

Examples of compulsive behaviors include:

  • Compulsive counting
  • Hand washing or cleaning
  • Arranging items in a precise manner
  • Constantly checking, such as seeing if the door is locked or the oven is off

How is anxiety treated?

Dr. Abaza primarily treats anxiety with medication to alleviate the intense symptoms affecting your ability to function and get through daily life. Many different medications effectively treat anxiety symptoms.

Each class of medication used for anxiety —  benzodiazepines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants — includes several different types of approved drugs. You can count on Dr. Abaza’s extensive experience to accurately diagnose your anxiety and choose the best medication for your individual needs.

After you gain symptom relief from medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps many patients change their thinking patterns to diminish anxiety. Different techniques used during CBT are also effective for phobias and OCD.

If you suffer from any type of anxiety or OCD, call TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County or book an appointment online.