Anxiety disorders represent a multifaceted and complex range of psychic disorders among the most frequent.
When we talk about anxiety it is necessary to premise that there is physiological anxiety, understood as a functional activation of all the psycho-physical activities of the subject and a pathological anxiety, characterized by an abnormal and dysfunctional activation that generates a continuous state of tension-alert and consequently a deficit in operational capabilities.
Panic Disorders are sudden, recurrent, experienced with distress and with a range of cognitive and physical symptoms. They can also be accompanied by agoraphobia, or the fear of being in situations where escape and help in the event of an attack are not possible.
The most frequent symptoms are: palpitations, sweating, tremor, dyspnoea, feelings of asphyxia, dizziness or fainting, paraesthesia, fear of losing control, going crazy or dying. Sometimes derealization, or the feeling that the surrounding environment is unreal and no longer familiar, and depersonalization, or the feeling of being detached from oneself, are added. These symptoms arise suddenly and persist for a period of time ranging from 10 to 30-40 minutes.
This symptomatic procession very frequently determines two types of pathological reactions: anticipatory anxiety, that is the a-priori fear that a future event could cause a new panic attack, and avoidance behaviors, that is the implementation of behaviors for avoid situations or places that, according to the person suffering from it, could induce the onset of a new attack. These are mechanisms that generate a reinforcement system for anxiety and panic attacks themselves, so that this spiral must be stopped as soon as possible in the patient.
Phobic Disorders are characterized by the presence of an abnormal, excessive and unmotivated fear of events, objects or activities that generate the appearance of anxious symptoms or avoidance of the phobic stimulus. These are disorders that compromise the relational and professional life of the individual.
One of the most frequent phobias is agoraphobia, or the fear of being in situations or places from which it would be difficult to get away or escape (streets, crowded places, means of transport …). Other specific types of phobias are, for example, those towards animals, blood, atmospheric agents and height.
Generalized Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder consists in the presence of excessive, pervasive anxiety linked to everyday life. The individual presents an almost daily apprehensive expectation towards objects and situations that previously did not determine this level of anxiety but which now has difficulty managing. Symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, memory lapses and sleep disturbances are often present.
All anxiety disorders can be present in comorbidity with many other psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders and those related to substance use.
The Brain Clinic of UPMC Salvator Mundi International Hospital offers the possibility of an integrated diagnosis that takes into account all the variables involved in the expression of anxious symptoms: comorbidities, elements of historical and current vulnerability with reference to the single development history and factors maintaining the disorder.
You can access the service and the first individual cognitive interview either on personal request or on sending by the psychiatrist or treating doctor.
Working in an integrated manner does not only mean giving an integrated reading of the origin of anxiety disorders or using techniques from different addresses, but also means “co-building” the treatment in a perspective of cooperation between team-therapist-patient.