5 Anxiety Statistics To Be Mindful Of

Updated October 12, 2018

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Anxiety continues to grow as one of the world's most common mental conditions. In the US alone, it affects roughly 1 out of every 5 Americans [1]. Many people don't even actually know they are suffering from an anxiety disorder or are unable to receive treatment, even in places with the most advanced healthcare. These statistics are just a small preview of some the issues anxiety presents to populations, and this article will outline five anxiety statistics that you should become familiar with.

1.Anxiety Has Many Forms

Compared to many conditions, anxiety has several different forms. Anxiety can include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, as well as phobias. Some cases of anxiety can be chronic, and others can be more situational.

For example, statistics on anxiety indicate that social anxiety, a subtype of anxiety, is more common than people think. Social anxiety can present itself when an individual may be placed in a social situation where they fear that they will be judged, criticized, or humiliated. This type of anxiety usually happens around unfamiliar people or an event such as public speaking.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, just over 12 percent of US adults cite that they have experienced a social anxiety disorder in their lifetime while approximately 7 percent had it in the last year. To compare these social anxiety statistics to another anxiety disorder, about 5 to 6 percent of adults may experience generalized anxiety disorder in their lives with 2 to 3 percent happening in the last year. [2]

2. Anxiety Prefers Women

Research studies have consistently shown that anxiety tends to affect women more often than men. In a sample of about 20,000 people used in a study by the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies (CPES), the lifetime ratio was 1:1.7 and its 12-month rate is 1:1.79. [1]

Interestingly enough, out of the anxiety disorder statistics, the parameters that were not affected by gender were its age of onset and how chronic the anxiety was. To add to the social anxiety statistics from before, SAD is shown to affect both men and women equally, which is an anomaly [1].

3. Anxiety Often Comes With Other Illnesses

Anxiety has one of the highest rates of co-morbidity out any psychiatric illness. Specific anxiety disorders may sometimes even be paired up with each other. For example, some of the most active pairs that were found were social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia along with panic disorder and agoraphobia. [3] Agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped or being placed in an area or position that can cause panic. With this in mind, it's understandable why its coupled with other anxiety subtypes.

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Anxiety and depression co-existing together is another example of co-morbidity. For some depression and anxiety statistics regarding this, a rate of 0.62 was found between generalized anxiety disorder and major depression along with a rate of 0.55 for dysthymia, a milder, but chronic form of depression. [3] Like anxiety disorders, depression can also have many different faces. It can be persistent or even seasonal.

4. Anxiety Is Under-Treated

For being so prevalent, anxiety disorder treatment is quite low. There are quite a few anxiety statistics regarding treatment rates. According to the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD), approximately one fifth (about 20 percent) of the participants contacted health services for treatment. Out of the individuals that did seek services, roughly 23 percent did not receive treatment, just over 30 percent received prescription drug treatment, about 19% received psychological treatment, and about 26 to 27 percent received both [3].

Some additional anxiety disorder statistics are that it may take years for an individual to get a referral to visit a mental health professional in some places; a report shows that around 45 percent of patients waited at least two years before they were able to get a formal diagnosis. Only 50 percent of all anxiety disorders have been recognized, which is a setback for treatment. [3]

Other factors that can affect treatment is healthcare availability. Unfortunately, many places in the world do not have access to effective treatment for anxiety. Some people may not recognize that they have a chronic anxiety issue as well. Because they don't fully understand what is happening to their bodies, it can be common for individuals to visit an urgent care facility or the emergency room for treatment rather than visiting a counselor or psychiatrist.

5. Anxiety Is On The Rise

The World Health Organization states that anxiety and depression have increased by over 50 percent between 1990 and 2013. 615 million people were affected, up from 416 million. This figure is easily one of the most significant depressions and anxiety statistics. The rates also show no signs of stopping anytime soon [4].

The increase of anxiety also evidently has a significant effect on economies. Combined, depression, and anxiety are expensive; they cost the global economy USD 1 trillion every single year. It is shown that anxiety treatment can provide an increase of about 5 percent to labor productivity, which is valued at close to USD 400 million. Despite there being clear benefits to treating it, investment in treatment is much lower than it needs to be [4].

Statistics on anxiety also show that during emergencies, or times of economic hardship, psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression tend to increase. If world-wide treatment is not adequately addressed, we can expect to see the figures to keep rising, which will continue to affect the global economy negatively.

Treatment For Anxiety

Therapy and prescription drugs are often the main courses of treatment for anxiety. Therapy should be prioritized because it can help get to the cause of the anxiety. Some people also find relief just by talking about their anxiety with someone. By visiting BetterHelp.com, you can find counseling services by licensed professionals who are experienced with treating anxiety.

Cognitive-behavior therapy, often known as CBT, is a specific but useful option for anxiety patients because it addresses your thoughts and behaviors (such as your reaction) to anxiety triggers. Negative thoughts can impact the way you feel, and this can be changed.

For the physical symptoms, statistics on anxiety show that prescription drugs can be helpful to some individuals. However, some may be habit-forming. It is imperative to be presented with guidance from a doctor, preferably a psychiatrist that specializes in anxiety, who can escort you through what you need to know before starting treatment by using a particular prescription drug. Physical symptoms can vary but often include a racing heartbeat, sweating, tremors, and shortness of breath.

Many anxiety patients have seen success by using beta-blockers to manage their physical symptoms of anxiety. Rather than being a drug that affects the brain, beta-blockers are cardiac medication and are not habit-forming or narcotic. Beta-blockers work by blocking epinephrine and reducing adrenaline. By doing this, it reduces (or eliminates) symptoms such as a racing heart, tremors, and blushing.

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These drugs have been particularly useful for people with social anxiety where their condition flares up around particular events, like public speaking. When physical symptoms get unbearable, it can make the mental aspect of anxiety worse. Also, some people may become apprehensive knowing that their body will overreact to a dreadful event. Effectively, this makes the anxiety worse.

By controlling physical symptoms, people can be more comfortable and regain confidence by knowing that their body is under control and will not overreact. Managing the physical symptoms can lead to reduced mental anxiety without the need for psychiatric drugs.

Conclusion

Anxiety is the typical response to many different events and situations in our lives. For example, a student may experience some anxiety before taking an important exam, because it causes worry and pressure. However, anxiety can be persistent in many individuals, and chronic anxiety affects many people across the world. If this seems a lot like you, you will benefit from seeking assistance and receiving treatment.

Overall, anxiety disorders are under-treated; some individuals will never contact services or do not utilize the correct healthcare option. Some people may feel too shy or ashamed to reach out to anyone, which can be typical of social anxiety, while others with panic disorder may mistakenly visit an emergency room rather than seeing a mental health specialist [3].

Although the anxiety statistics show that they are under-treated, options are available for individuals seeking help. The very first step in treatment should be to find a therapist who can walk you through anxiety and listen to you. By visiting www.betterhelp.com/signup, you have access to counselors and therapists and other resources that you may find helpful.

Medication is also an option, but it will require the assessment and diagnosis by a physician. Preferably, this assessment should be carried out by a mental health specialist. A psychiatrist will be able to figure out what drug treatment is recommended for you and make necessary adjustments.

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These statistics on anxiety show that the condition is pandemic and needs to be under-control otherwise there will continue to be negative consequences. These consequences apply to depression as well. Not only do the depression and anxiety statistics indicate a public health issue, but it is also a development issue [4]. Treatment for these conditions needs to be prioritized to create happier and more productive people who stimulate economic growth.

References

  1. Mclean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: Prevalence, the course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(8), 1027-1035. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.03.006
  1. National Institute of Mental Health. (2017, November). Social Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/social-anxiety-disorder.shtml
  1. Bandelow, B. (2015). Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 17(3), 327-335. Retrieved August 28, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4610617/.
  1. World Health Organization. (2018, June 2). Investing in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a fourfold return. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/news-room/headlines/13- 04-2016-investing-in-treatment-for-depression-and-anxiety-leads-to-fourfold-return

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