What Is Fixation? Is It Treatable?

Last Update on January 6, 2023 : Published on January 5, 2023

Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst in his early studies introduced us to his psychosexual developmental stages. According to Freud, we all go through these psychosexual developmental stages in our early life.

According to Freud’s theory, we all need to transition from one psychosexual development stage to another smoothly, or else there are going to be some consequences. In each psychosexual development stage, there are a few needs that are to be fulfilled.

If an individual fails to fulfill any need at any stage, Freud called them to be fixated at that stage. Fixations basically mean that you are stuck at one of the psychosexual development stages and until these fixations are not resolved, you’ll have to live with the result of those fixations in your adult life.

Let’s understand fixations better and learn how to overcome these fixations…

What Do You Mean By Fixation?


Fixations basically refer to a state where an individual is stuck or fixated in a psychosexual developmental stage. It means that an individual had unmet needs in a developmental stage and that they moved on to another stage without resolving the previous stage’s conflicts.

According to Freud, Fixations are an obsession that people have because of the unfulfilled Id’s pleasure-seeking demand in the early stage of psychosexual development. If you obsess over something in your adult life, there are high chances you are emotionally or psychologically stuck at a psychosexual developmental stage.

What Is The Process Of Fixation?

As we discussed earlier, fixations are caused when you have unfulfilled desires or unresolved conflicts in the early stages of development. These unresolved conflicts and unfulfilled desires make you obsess over an object, activity, or thought that trouble you in your adult life.

Right after being born, your psychosexual development begins. There are 5 psychosexual stages we all go through; the oral stage (0-1 year), the anal stage (1-3 years), the phallic stage (3-6 years), the latent stage (6 to puberty), and the genital stage (puberty to death).

Fixations are usually said to occur in the early stages of psychosexual development (oral, anal & phallic). In the oral stage, the basic need is satisfied through the mouth as the baby feeds from the mother. If the feeding discontinues or feeding is not done properly, an individual can be stuck at the oral stage. Similarly, when the needs of anal and phallic stages are not fulfilled, one can be fixated on those stages too.

What Are The Types Of Fixation?


As we discussed earlier, fixations usually happen during the early stages of psychosexual development. According to that, there are mainly 3 types of fixations. Let’s have a look at each;

  1. The Oral Fixation: when an individual’s needs are not fulfilled during the oral stage, they tend to get stuck in this stage. Oral fixation can manifest into adult life in habits like nail biting, smoking, chewing gum all the time, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.
  2. The Anal Fixation: the anal stage is where you potty train your child and they get to explore their sexual body parts. They are learning to control their bladder, at this time if they are shamed or ridiculed or have harsh potty training, they can get fixated at this stage. Anal fixations can manifest into being overly orderly or obsessing over perfection or becoming extremely messy and unorganized when they grow up.
  3. The Phallic Fixation: at this stage, an individual resonates with the same-sex parent. It is also the stage where the Oedipus and Electra complex takes place. If these complexes are not resolved can cause fixation. These fixations can manifest into sexually aggressive behavior or an exhibitionist personality.

How To Overcome Fixations?

When your needs are not fulfilled in the early stages of your psychosexual development, you can develop fixations. These fixations can then manifest into problematic behavior and obsessions as an individual grows older.

Fortunately, your fixations can be resolved and treated. Let’s see how;

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about fixations helpful, informative, and interesting. Do share this blog with your friends and family because sometimes we fail to understand our maladaptive behavior and obsessions. Fixations are many a time the answer to our weird obsessiveness towards life.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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