Anxiety is a common feeling that everyone experiences from time to time. But anxiety can sometimes be such a dominant factor in life that it reduces the quality of life as well as the ability perform ordinary daily functions (going to work, taking care of the family and one’s own needs and desires). Avoidance behavior is one of the most common strategies we use when we experience anxiety, and this reduces the possibility of engaging in social and work-related activities. Hospitals use the diagnosis system ICD-10 to categorize a patient’s symptoms. But it is not unusual that a person’s anxiety symptoms fit the pattern of several different diagnoses, as there is no clear distinction between the various anxiety disorders. In addition, a person will often have several different anxiety disorders at the same time. Especially panic anxiety will often appear together with other anxiety disorders.
Epidemiological studies about the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the population cannot provide exact figures, but it is estimated that 10-20% of the population suffer from pathological anxiety at any given time.
Pathological anxiety is characterized by an overestimation of danger and likelihood with regard to a given situation or object. This is accompanied by an underestimation of one’s own ability to act (to cope) and of the possibility of receiving help from others.
Anxiety disorders that are treated at Ulrichsen’s Clinic
Panic anxiety is an extremely intense anxiety experience, and it begins like a ”bolt from the blue”. There is also a constant expectation of new panic anxiety attacks, and much catastrophic thinking about what the anxiety might mean. Anxiety attacks are recurring and are not limited to particular situations or conditions. They are therefore seen as unpredictable. See also “Common anxiety symptoms”.
Agoraphobia is something along the lines of a fear of open spaces. It is expressed as a fear of being away from one’s own home (the safe haven), because of the risk of falling ill in a public area where there is no help to be had. Agoraphobic anxiety will typically appear in shops, gatherings, public areas where there are many people, and when travelling alone by bus, train or plane. Agoraphobia will very often appear together with panic anxiety. Avoidance behavior with regard to all anxiety-provoking situations can mean that the person is bound to his or her home.
Social anxiety is a fear of other people’s critical assessment, or of behaving in an embarrassing way, and an avoidance of situations where such things might occur. Social anxiety is usually accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: a) fear of blushing, b) fear of vomiting, c) an urge to urinate or defecate, or a fear of doing so. Avoidance behavior is extremely common in social phobia (avoiding parties, cinemas, public speaking, oral presentations at school or at work, eating in restaurants or workplace cafeterias, meetings, saying something in a group, etc.).