illustration to article on various anxiety disorders

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Various forms of anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a collective term that describe conditions in which anxiety is the main symptom. Anxiety is a condition that is often characterized by a feeling of inner turmoil, tension, a nagging expectation that something dangerous can happen, or an excessive fear reaction to something. You can experience a number of different symptoms, and are triggered by different causes and situations.

Anxiety can be related to a specific object or situation, or be more indeterminate.

Anxiety disorders can be characterized by persistent worries, irritability, restlessness and restlessness, or come as sudden seizures.

Typical of people with anxiety disorders is that you try to avoid places or situations that you think will cause anxiety. This often leads to anxiety being maintained, and often constitutes a major problem in everyday life.

We can distinguish between several different anxiety disorders. In this article, we will take a closer look at what characterizes the various forms of anxiety disorders.

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Generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder means that the anxiety occurs without any particular trigger. If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you tend to walk around with excessive worries in several areas.

Generalized anxiety disorder causes symptoms such as persistent strong tension, restlessness, restlessness and worries. You can also get somatic symptoms such as tremor and dizziness.

Many people with generalized anxiety disorder find that they are almost "looking" for things to worry about. It happens because you are constantly in a kind of state of readiness to try to avoid anxiety.

Even though you may know that there is no reason to be anxious, it is not so easy to get rid of anxiety without getting help.

People with generalized anxiety disorder like to stay in what they experience as a safe zone. They can use a lot of energy to accomplish things that others see as unproblematic to do.

In the long run, you can also have more problems in the long run, as a result of the anxiety. These can be avoidance behaviors, sleep problems, muscle tension and addiction.

To be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, the condition must have persisted for at least 6 months.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is often also called panic disorder or panic attacks. The condition is characterized by anxiety coming suddenly and without warning. In addition, you often get physical symptoms. These can be symptoms such as difficulty breathing, palpitations, sweating, tremors, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, feeling faint and fear of death.

Such seizures can be very frightening, especially the first time you experience them. Often, people who experience panic disorder have not had other mental health problems before, and it can therefore be experienced as extra frightening.

Due to the strong physical symptoms, many people think they have had a heart attack or stroke. This in turn can make one even more aware of the symptoms, and that you are concerned about whether you get a faster heart rate, fast breathing or the like.

Panic disorder occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason, unlike many other anxiety disorders. Such a panic attack rarely lasts longer than 10 minutes. Even if it's only a matter of a few minutes, this time often feels like an eternity to the person who has the seizure.

During a seizure, the person will usually have narrowed attention and be perceived as unreachable by others. They may also appear to be "digging". It is often because you are trying to get away or end the attack.

It can be difficult to help someone through a seizure because the person may find the attempt to help useless or threatening. This is especially true if they are being held or forced to do something.

Since panic attacks occur without warning, many will find that they go into a general state of anxiety even between seizures. Since you do not know what triggers the seizures, you will often start to avoid situations that you think may trigger the anxiety. In the long run, such avoidance behaviors will usually exacerbate the anxiety.

Compulsive disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests itself as obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. The obsessive thoughts consist of notions of anxiety, and the compulsive actions are performed to reduce the anxiety.

One of the most well-known forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

People with this obsessive-compulsive disorder often have problems with negative thought spirals that often start with "think if". Often you know logically that there is little to no risk that these things will happen, but you can not give up the idea.

Such "think if" thoughts often lead you to think about what to do if the fear actually occurs. These can be very tedious thought processes.

The worries that these thoughts cause can also cause physical symptoms as with other anxiety disorders.

Many people who suffer from such obsessions develop various rituals that help them stop the thought processes. These are called compulsions, and can be actions such as counting, checking, or performing actions directly related to the obsessions.

If the ritual is not performed correctly, you may have to start again before you feel satisfied, and can move on from the obsession.

Both talking about the obsessions or that others try to stop the actions can lead to great frustration for both parties.

It is quite common to have some of these symptoms during life. But if you spend more than an hour a day on compulsive actions, or that the obsessive thoughts go beyond everyday life, you should talk to a psychologist about the symptoms.

Socialized anxiety disorder

Social anxiety typically causes people who struggle with this to avoid social situations and meeting people they do not know. People with socialized anxiety disorder typically have intense anxiety about situations where they experience pressure to "perform".

Anxiety is not related to the situation itself, but a fear that others will judge them or that you will do something stupid or degrading.

For example, they want to avoid going to social events because they feel that "everyone" is watching when they enter the room, they are afraid to say something stupid, or to be stupid. An important characteristic and symptom of social anxiety is self-critical and self-conscious thoughts and attitudes.

Often they will try to avoid such situations, or feel a strong discomfort about being in such a situation. Even though they know it is an irrational fear, they are unable to control it.

However, it is important to remember that it is perfectly normal to be insecure or nervous when meeting new people, giving a speech, or being in an unknown setting.

To be diagnosed with socialized anxiety disorder, the anxiety must be of an intense nature, and one must avoid situations to such an extent that it affects and prevents the person from having a social life, performing at work, or having a general influence on how one functions in everyday life.


A phobia is an irrational and intense fear of a particular activity, object or situation. Phobias can be divided into three main categories: agoraphobia, social phobia and specific phobias.

Agoraphobia is the fear of leaving what one sees as a safe place, for example at home, to move out into areas one perceives as unsafe. Agoraphobia is especially associated with open spaces and places with many people. This can be an open square in the city, shops, public transport and so on.

People with social phobia are afraid to associate with other people. The phobia can manifest itself in different ways, where one can have a fear of interacting with people in general, certain groups of people, or possibly interacting with people in specific situations. Social phobia can involve a strong fear of fooling oneself or being humiliated.

Specific phobias are about fearing certain objects or situations, such as spiders, heights or having to travel by plane.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a delayed or prolonged reaction to various traumatic events. These can be situations that have been experienced as extremely frightening or mentally painful.

Events that trigger PTSD have often involved a threat to one's own or others 'death, or something that threatens one's or others' physical, sexual or mental integrity.

Examples of such incidents are disasters, serious accidents, violence and rape.

The threat is perceived as very overwhelming in connection with one's own ability or opportunity to master the situation.

People with PTSD often relive the original trauma through inner images, thoughts or nightmares. Physical symptoms can include tension, physical pain, anger, drowsiness and sleep problems, as well as avoiding anything reminiscent of the traumatic experience.

All of these are symptoms that can drain one too much energy. PTSD can also cause difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, it is required that the symptoms persist for more than a month, and that the symptoms have a significant impact on the person's ability to function in social, occupational and other important situations.

Treatment of anxiety disorders

When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, talking to a psychologist can be helpful.

If you think you have an anxiety disorder, but are unsure if you need help dealing with the challenges, you can read more about when to talk to a professional in this article.

You can of course also book an appointment with our skilled psychologists!

Take care of your mental health

Our psychologists are here for you!

When it becomes challenging to deal with difficult thoughts and feelings on your own, it can be helpful to talk to a psychologist for advice and guidance.

Contact us

Get in touch to learn more about our services and how they can be adapted to fit into different insurance and occupational health services.

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