"The greatest effectiveness in treatment has been achieved with the combination of psychopharmaceuticals and psychotherapy".


Anxiety is a normal emotion experienced in situations where the subject feels threatened by an external or internal danger.

It would be necessary to differentiate between fear (the subject knows the external and delimited object that threatens him and it is prepared to respond) and anxiety (the subject does not know the object, being the internal threat and existing a difficulty in the elaboration of the answer).

The anxiety is abnormal when it is disproportionate and too much prolonged for the triggering stimulus.

Unlike the relatively slight and transitory anxiety caused by a estresante event, the upheavals of anxiety last at least six months and can worsen if they are not treated.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

There are different clinical pictures in which anxiety is the fundamental symptom:

  • Disorder by crisis of anguish, in which the anxiety appears of episodic form like palpitations, sensation of drowning, instability, tremors or fear to die.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder, with a permanent state of anguish.
  • Phobic disorder, with specific or unspecific fears.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, with intrusive and unpleasant ideas that can be accompanied by ritual acts that diminish the anguish of the obsession (washing oneself many times for fear of contagion, checking doors or plugs, continuous doubts).
  • Acute or post-traumatic stress reactions.
  • Disorders of adaptation to adverse life situations.

What are the most common symptoms?

  • Palpitations
  • Choking sensation
  • Distress
  • Phobias 

In the infantile anxiety, the manifestations are similar to those described for the adult, covering special characteristics the phobias (for being fears to the dark, the animals and the separation of the beings) and the disorder by deficit of attention and hyperactivity (for being a pathology of beginning generally in the childhood and requiring a pharmacological treatment with psychostimulants).

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have an anxiety disorder

What are the causes of anxiety?

The fundamental causes are the genetic factors, existing a predisposition to the disorder, although its exact contribution and the type of education in the childhood and the personality is not known, presenting greater risk those people with difficulty to confront the estresantes events.

Among the precipitating factors of the disease would be the stressful events, in particular the difficulties in the interpersonal relations, the physical diseases and the labor problems.

How does anxiety evolve?

The anxiety disorders can become chronic if the stressful events that have caused them persist or styles of thought that cause a fear to the presentation of the symptoms are maintained, creating a vicious circle between the anxiety and the fear to present it.

In general, the course is chronic with fluctuations and, in particular, in the generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobic disorder of initiation in childhood, the course is especially fluctuating. Without treatment, 80% still have symptoms three years after onset.

If the anxiety is chronic, accompanying states of depression can often occur. With treatment, 50% do not return to present crisis of anxiety.

How is anxiety diagnosed?

The diagnosis of anxiety is based on the clinical evaluation by the specialist in Psychiatry. It presents quite characteristic signs and symptoms, which makes it unnecessary, in many cases, to perform any other diagnostic test.

  • Diagnostic interview.
  • If it is suspected that it may have an organic cause, it is advisable to carry out other tests such as magnetic resonance, analytical tests and assessment by other specialists.
  • Psycho diagnostic tests.

Learn how to deal with anxiety (available in spanish)

How is anxiety treated?

It is important to perform an early treatment and combine psychotherapy with pharmacological treatment

There are effective therapies for anxiety disorders that can help most people with them lead productive and fulfilling lives.

The greatest effectiveness has been achieved with the combination of psychotropic drugs and psychotherapy.

Among the drugs, antidepressants are used in doses higher than those required to treat depression. Benzodiazepines are also useful, as they control symptoms quickly, although they should not be given for a long time.

There are different psychotherapy techniques for anxiety disorders aimed at learning anxiety management skills. Clear explanation of the physical symptoms of anxiety and relaxation training are important.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of the
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Through a multidisciplinary work, the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology assists patients in a comprehensive way: it identifies the main causes of the disease and provides an individual approach with the most appropriate and effective treatments. 

Thanks to the experience of its team, it is able to offer the most advanced biological therapies, as well as an adequate psychotherapeutic orientation. In this way, the patient is helped to solve both personality problems and alterations in interpersonal and family dynamics.

Organized in specialized units

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Integral evaluation of the patient.
  • Personalized diagnosis.
  • Multidisciplinary team.

Our team of professionals