What are anxiety disorders and how to recognize them – diagnosis of a psychologist 

Anxiety disorders through the eyes of a psychologist and psychotherapist.

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders detected by a psychologist during a psychological consultation or a visit to a psychiatrist, which can be found in Krakow. According to some sources, they are experienced even more often than mood disorders (depression and mania) or addiction to psychoactive substances. The intensity of anxiety symptoms varies: from mild anxiety to panic attacks, significantly hindering normal functioning. They can become the cause of job loss, inability to travel, difficulties in establishing interpersonal contacts.

Types of anxiety disorders:

Generalized anxiety disorder

A mental disorder characterized by a generalized constant anxiety not associated with a specific object or event. The disorder is often accompanied by an accelerated heart rate, increased muscle tone, tremors, sweating, irregular breathing. A person experiencing generalized anxiety disorder may be convinced that they are ill or that they or their relatives are in danger of an unfortunate accident.

Panic disorder

A mental disorder characterized by the onset of panic attacks of varying frequency (from several times a year to several times a day) and the constant anticipation of a panic attack. The disorder is not confined to a specific situation or circumstance and is therefore almost completely unpredictable.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

A disorder that manifests itself in the involuntary formation of intrusive or fearful thoughts (obsessions) and the unintentional performance of actions out of fear related to those thoughts (compulsions).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A severe mental state resulting as a reaction to a traumatic event or series of events that have a very strong negative impact on the human psyche. The traumatic nature of the event is usually associated with one’s own helplessness or the inability to function effectively in a dangerous situation.

A phobia is a disorder that consists in the occurrence of an uncontrollable irrational fear directed at a certain object or situation. The sufferer will do anything to avoid the object of fear. When he fails to avoid the feared object or situation, he experiences intense distress.

What is the difference between anxiety and fear?

Anxiety is the irrational equivalent of fear, the intensity of which is inadequate to the threat. Ordinary fear, on the other hand, is caused by a real threat, and its intensity is justified and depends on the degree of danger.

Although fear is a very unpleasant feeling, it is essential for survival, it is the basis of the instinct of self-preservation. If a person does not feel fear when encountering danger, he will not be able to assess the level of threat, or react appropriately and protect himself.

Unlike fear, a phobia does not bring any benefits, it only hinders the normal functioning of a person, forcing him to feel fear when the threat objectively does not exist.

While ordinary fear can be explained logically and thus eliminated, a phobia is not amenable to logical explanation. Very often it is difficult to determine the cause of anxiety, but consultation with a psychologist-psychotherapist in Krakow can help you understand both its source and the most effective ways of treatment.

Why do fears arise?

A process characteristic of anxiety is the displacement of fear from a real source of threat to a neutral object that is associatively related to the first one. The suffering person is not aware of the true cause of his anxiety, the sources of fear are hidden in the unconscious part of the psyche.

In most cases, anxiety is caused not by the fear of losing one’s life, but by the fear of making forbidden dreams come true. The nature of fear can be known through the associations between the object of fear and the unconscious forbidden demands. Frequently, the basis of fear are fantasies related to the sexual sphere, drives that a person is ashamed of and which he evaluates negatively.

To get rid of fear, it is worth finding the real cause of fear and working through it with the help of a psychotherapist. Numerous studies confirm the effectiveness of psychodynamic therapy in the treatment of anxiety. Psychodynamic therapy is conducted by experienced specialists at the Synapsa Lesser Poland Psychotherapy Center in Krakow.