Modtagelse på psykiatrisk afsnit

This page provides you with information about anxiety in adults.

 

The psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region treat anxiety in these teams:

Department for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Skejby: Klinik for PTSD og angst (Clinic for PTSD and Anxiety)

Regional Mental Health Services Horsens: Team for angstlidelser, Psykiatrisk Klinik 2 (Team for Anxiety Disorders, Psychiatric Clinic 2)

Regional Mental Health Services Central Denmark Region: Team for OCD og angstlidelse (Team for OCD and Anxiety Disorders)

Regional Mental Health Services Randers: Psykiatrisk Klinik, Rønde (Psychiatric Clinic, Rønde)

Regional Mental Health Services Gødstrup: Team for Affektive Lidelser (Team for Affective Disorders)

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling with which everyone is familiar. It is a normal, beneficial response when a person is in danger. But when you have an anxiety disorder, the anxiety acts as a kind of ‘false alarm’. This means that the anxiety occurs without there being any real danger. The anxiety feels impossible to control and prevents you from acting sensibly.

 

Facts about anxiety:

 

- Anxiety is seen in almost all mental illnesses.

- The term ‘anxiety disorders’ covers a number of mental illnesses in which anxiety is the dominant symptom.

- Anxiety disorders are very common among the populations in Western countries.

- Anxiety disorders often start in childhood or adolescence, but they can also begin later in life.

  • Anxiety disorders always affect the sufferer’s quality of life.
  • The main characteristic of anxiety disorders is a feeling of anxiety with many bodily symptoms even though there is no actual danger present. For example, you may be afraid of being together with others, of being alone or of leaving your home.
  • A person who suffers from anxiety will typically try to avoid what he or she fears.
  • Anxiety can manifest itself with different degrees of severity, ranging right from mild anxiety, which constitutes a nuisance in daily life, to debilitating anxiety about ordinary everyday activities such as shopping, taking the bus or socialising with others.
  • For some, anxiety can be an obstacle to getting an education, holding a job or having a social network.

What happens in anxiety disorders?

Why do some people develop anxiety?

There is no single explanation as to why some people develop an anxiety disorder. Several factors come into play.

In some cases, it is evident that a particular distress or incident triggered anxiety. In other cases, the anxiety seems to come out of the blue. Something that can lead to anxiety in one person may simply be a temporary stress factor for someone else.

Biological susceptibility

Psychological susceptibility and social vulnerability

A stressful life

Substance abuse

What happens in the brain?

Symptoms

Four types of symptoms

Body – symptoms of anxiety

Emotions – symptoms of anxiety

Thoughts – symptoms of anxiety

Behaviour – symptoms of anxiety

“Every time I picked my son up from nursery school, I started to sweat, and my hands were trembling. I was sure everyone could see I was in a bad state, and I felt they considered me completely spineless. I finally stopped going to the nursery school.”
Peter, 31

The vicious circle of anxiety

Before, during and after

Lægesamtale psykiatrien

Examination for anxiety

Exclusion of other disorders

Examination by doctor or psychologist

Types of anxiety

Generalised anxiety – exaggerated tendency to worry, excessive anxiousness and agitation

Panic disorder – sudden attacks of severe anxiety

I have had my heart and all the other organs checked loads of times so I know there is nothing wrong with me physically. Nevertheless, I still believe that I’m having a heart attack every time I have an anxiety attack.
Woman, 29

Agoraphobia – phobic anxiety of going out alone or leaving your home

Sociophobia – phobic anxiety in social situations

Degrees of anxiety

All anxiety disorders can have different levels of severity.

Mild anxiety:

With mild anxiety, you are able to lead a normal life, raise a family, have friends, take an education and hold down a job. The anxiety only comes in some situations, where it can, however, be very bothersome. For example, severe anxiety prior to an exam.

Severe anxiety:

Here, anxiety takes up so much space that it affects you in everything you do. Severe anxiety prevents you from living a normal life.

For example, it may be that you find it so difficult to be with others that you avoid socialising altogether. You can become isolated and lonely.

It may also be that you experience such violent anxiety attacks that you are constantly afraid of having another attack. Therefore, you may not dare be alone.

Support from the municipality

Concomitant disorders

Concurrent multiple mental illnesses

Treatment of anxiety

Treatment is administered either in the municipality by a general practitioner, a practising specialist in psychiatry or a psychologist, or in the region, where it is provided by a psychologist, a doctor or other group of healthcare professionals.

In 10% of the most severe cases, hospital psychiatric services will provide the treatment. You are almost never hospitalised solely because of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is treatable with medication and psychotherapy. You can receive treatment with either medication or psychotherapy or with both concurrently.

Psychotherapy and medication are virtually equally effective forms of treatment. However, there is the difference that medication only works as long as you take it. In psychotherapy, you learn to use methods that you can also use after the treatment has ended.

Learning about the disorder – psychoeducation

Psychotherapy

Medication

Side effects of medication

Advice for people who suffer from anxiety

What can be done to prevent anxiety?

What can you do yourself if you are suffering from anxiety?

Advice for relatives

What can relatives do?

Text on this page updated in March 2022. 

Mikkel Arendt, Psychologist specialising in psychiatry, Clinic for PTSD and Anxiety, Department for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry