Anxiety Disorder: Diagnosis

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Anxiety Disorder: Diagnosis
Anxiety Disorder: Diagnosis

Video: Anxiety Disorder: Diagnosis

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Anxiety Disorder: Diagnosis

An early diagnosis of an anxiety disorder enables rapid therapy and reduces the risk of developing further mental illnesses (e.g. depression). The suspected diagnosis is made by means of a precise survey of the medical history (by a doctor, clinical-psychological diagnosis or a psychotherapeutic conversation.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • Exclude physical causes
  • Forms of pathological fears
  • Brief overview of the most common anxiety disorders
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

Exclude physical causes

Before a diagnosis of anxiety disorder is confirmed, physical ailments are ruled out. The most important physical differential diagnoses include, for example, diseases of the lungs, the cardiovascular system, dizziness (eg of the equilibrium system) or neurological diseases. A physical exam should always be done. Blood values ​​(blood count, thyroid hormones, etc.) are taken and an EKG is performed. Depending on the circumstances, additional clarifying examinations will take place (e.g. lung function test, MR). In addition, it must be clarified whether the anxiety occurs as an accompanying illness to another mental illness (e.g. depression).

Forms of pathological fears

Anxiety disorders are usually diagnosed according to the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases). A general distinction is made between different forms of anxiety disorders:

  • Fear, regardless of an object or a situation: It is not tangible what exactly one is afraid of. This is a constant companion (generalized anxiety disorder) or appears in certain moments as panic (panic disorder).
  • Fear, depending on an object or a situation: there is something concrete that one is afraid of (phobia, e.g. social phobia).
  • Anxiety mixed with depression (or compulsions).

It is also important to distinguish how the fear shows itself:

  • related to sensations / emotions: fear of death; Feelings of being out of control, hopelessness; Despair; extreme inner tension and fear etc.

  • through thoughts: failure to estimate what could happen; Thoughts that something might go wrong; Fear of losing control; Fearful thoughts of putting too much on the body, etc.
  • in behavior: irrepressible urge to flee, avoidance behavior e.g. flight in alcohol or sedatives etc.

In a broader sense, this also includes fears due to a post-traumatic stress disorder or an acute stress disorder, fears caused by substances (e.g. drugs) or due to a medical problem (e.g. after cancer).

Brief overview of the most common anxiety disorders

The most common anxiety disorders include:

  • Panic disorders: The fear occurs suddenly and is accompanied by clear physical symptoms (e.g. racing heart, sweating, dizziness, nausea, etc.). A feeling of heat or cold as well as tingling in the arms / legs can occur. One is afraid of fainting or of going crazy - in the worst case, of dying. These attacks (panic attacks) come out of the blue and last a few minutes during which the discomfort increases. Panic disorder is often coupled with agoraphobia.

  • Agoraphobia: Fear of certain places occurs - often combined with panic attacks. What these places have in common is that they could be embarrassed by an anxiety attack (e.g. in public places or in confined spaces such as an elevator). If someone else can be trusted, it is easier for those affected to expose themselves to this situation.

  • Social phobias: Sufferers avoid being the center of attention or being the center of attention. Depending on the characteristics, it can be difficult, for example, to give a lecture or to try to approach the opposite sex.

  • Specific phobias: The fear is directed towards something very specific, such as spinning or height.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: This form of fear manifests itself through physical, emotional and psychological complaints. Tremors, dizziness, palpitations, etc. occur. In addition, there are, for example, difficulty concentrating, nervousness or sleep disorders. Fear is a permanent condition here, which is always more - sometimes less - in the foreground. It is not clear to those affected what they are actually afraid of, and they are generally very worried (about themselves, their environment, etc.).

  • Anxiety mixed with a depressive disorder: Anxiety and depression coexist, although neither is severe. If they are, this justifies their own diagnosis (anxiety disorder and / or depression).

Whom can I ask?

If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, you can contact:

  • Resident specialist in psychiatry
  • Cash outpatient department or hospital outpatient department for psychiatry
  • Psychotherapist
  • Doctors with advanced training in psychotherapeutic medicine

You can first contact your general practitioner and use them to find specific points of contact. Psychologists can also be significantly involved in diagnosis and treatment.

For more information, see Finding a Contact.

Note Often the inhibition threshold to talk about your own great fears is very high. However, professional helpers are familiar with it, show understanding and can initiate helpful measures.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The costs for the medical examination are covered by the social security institutions. For more information about visiting a doctor, see Costs and Deductibles.

A full assumption of costs for psychotherapy is possible in own or contractually bound institutions of the health insurance carriers as well as in institutions that are subsidized by the public purse. In these cases, there is the option of paying a deductible. Otherwise, you have the option of applying for a subsidy from the health insurance company if you are undergoing psychotherapy with a resident psychotherapist. If this is approved, the health insurance provider will reimburse you for part of the fee paid to the psychotherapist. Further information on "Psychotherapy on sickness certificate",You can find subsidies and addresses of resident psychotherapists under Services.

The clinical-psychological diagnosis is a service provided by the social insurance institutions.

Information on costs for a hospital stay can be found under What does a hospital stay cost? You can find out more about a rehabilitation stay under Rehabilitation.

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