Anxiety disorders


First of all, fear is a feeling that everyone knows, because everyone has experienced fear in various degrees at some point in their lives. So fear is something that belongs to life. It protects us from stupidities and too big risks, it warns us to be careful and can therefore be an important companion.

But what happens when the fear grows, when it grows to such an extent that we can no longer understand and explain it? So what happens when the companion becomes a threat? The following text provides you with an overview of the most important anxiety disorders.

Forms of anxiety disorders

Pathological anxiety occurs in various forms. Basically, a distinction must be made between: Common to all anxiety disorders is the disproportion of the anxiety feeling compared to the current situation. – Generalised anxiety disorder

  • Panic attack / panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Social phobia
  • OCD

A generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by diffuse anxiety with tension, anxiety and fear of everyday events and problems for at least six months, accompanied by many other psychological and physical symptoms.

A panic attack is the sudden occurrence of a physical and mental alarm reaction of unclear cause, usually lasting only a few minutes, without any appropriate external cause. The affected person is often not aware of the existence of a panic attack. The behaviour of panic is inherent in every human being and serves in earlier stages of evolution as a source of energy in life-threatening situations.

A social phobia is the permanent fear of meeting and dealing with other people and above all the fear of negative evaluation by other people. With social phobia, as with any other phobia, the sufferer feels a logically incomprehensible (irrational) fear. In social phobia, as the name suggests, this fear is related to social situations. This topic might also interest you: Attachment Disorder Bindungsstörung


Mean lifetime prevalence (from Angenendt et al. 1998) Gender ratio female : male 2 : 1 (social phobia rather 1 : 1) Age of first illness (after Perkonigg & Wittchen 1995) Very often anxiety is a concomitant symptom of another mental disorder. For example, almost 90% of all patients with a borderline disorder at some point meet the criteria of an anxiety disorder. – Agoraphobia: 5.4%

  • Panic disorder: 2.0
  • Social phobia: 2.5
  • Generalised anxiety disorder: 5.1 %
  • Specific phobias 5 – 14 years
  • Social phobia 0 – 5 years, 11 – 15 years
  • Agoraphobia 20 – 30 years
  • Panic disorder 25 – 30 years, in men 2nd peak > 40 years
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (25 – 30 years)