Statistics On Anxiety Disorders

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated July 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental health conditions, affecting millions of people worldwide. Understanding the scope and impact of these anxiety disorders is crucial for developing effective treatments and support systems. 

This article delves into 10 key statistics that highlight the widespread nature of anxiety, the demographic variations in its prevalence, and the significant effects it has on individuals' lives. 

From the genetic components of anxiety to the benefits of therapeutic interventions like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), these statistics provide a comprehensive overview of anxiety in 2024, offering valuable insights for mental health professionals, patients, and the general public alike. 

Are you living with an anxiety disorder?

Understanding anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by excessive fear, worry, and apprehension. These anxiety disorders are not just fleeting feelings of nervousness but persistent and often debilitating conditions that can interfere with daily life. 

Common anxiety symptoms include restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and avoidance of certain situations, as well as physiological symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, and trembling. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, however, and a variety of effective therapies are available to help individuals manage and reduce their symptoms. Effective anxiety treatment typically includes lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, and, in some cases, medication.

10 revealing anxiety statistics

Anxiety affects millions of people on a given day. The following statistics can deepen your understanding of your diagnosis and inform public health efforts to support people with anxiety and other stress-related conditions.

  1. In April 2024, 17.4% of the United States population reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorder.

Studies from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Pulse Survey indicate that the prevalence of anxiety disorder symptoms has remained high, reflecting ongoing mental health challenges faced by many Americans. While these details reflect a downward trend from Covid-era datasets, they still underscore the significant impact of anxiety on the population and highlight the need for continued focus on mental health resources and support. 

  1. Young people are more likely to experience anxiety. 

Another takeaway from the April 2024 National Pulse Survey is that young people are more likely to experience anxiety symptoms than older people. Individuals in the 18-29 age bracket were most affected, with nearly a third (30.5%) reporting one or more symptoms. Of respondents aged 30-39, almost a quarter reported anxiety symptoms. 

As age increases, the proportion of individuals reporting anxiety symptoms tends to decrease. For those in the 40-49 age group, the figure drops to 19.3%, while only 14.5% of individuals aged 50-59 report experiencing anxiety symptoms. The trend continues with just 9.6% of those aged 60 and older reporting anxiety symptoms. 

  1. Women are more likely to experience anxiety. 

The April 2024 National Pulse Survey also found that more women than men reported having experienced anxiety symptoms—20.4% of females versus 14.3% of males. Some research has noted differences in the serotonin systems between males and females, which could account for the higher prevalence of chronic anxiety in women. 

However, it is also important to note that mental health stigmas may influence the reported prevalence of anxiety disorders: Women might be more likely to seek help and report their anxiety symptoms due to societal norms that make it more acceptable for them to express emotional distress and anxiety, whereas men might underreport or avoid seeking treatment due to mental health stigma

  1. Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

According to a 2015 report from the World Health Organization, 45.7% of those with major depressive disorder have also experienced an anxiety disorder

This comorbidity can complicate diagnosis and treatment, as symptoms of one disorder can exacerbate the other. Treatments, however, can also overlap—such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are effective for both anxiety and depression. 

  1. Across the globe, an estimated 4.7% of children and 8.3% of adolescents experience social anxiety symptoms.

A June 2024 review and meta-analysis of 38 studies placed the global prevalence of social anxiety at 4.7% for children (ages ≤9_ and 8.7% for teens (ages 10-19)

While shyness and challenges of social learning can be a normal part of being young, social anxiety disorder is characterized by an intense fear of social situations, and the distress and avoidance associated with the condition can hinder a child’s ability to flourish. However, with targeted interventions like psychotherapy and support groups, young people can learn to manage anxiety symptoms, build social skills, and thrive.

  1. 1 in 4 people with anxiety seek treatment.

A 2018 survey from the World Health Organization found that 27.6% of individuals with an anxiety disorder had sought treatment. With the growing popularity of online therapy, however, treatment is more affordable and available than ever, and as cultural shifts towards mental health awareness continue, more individuals may feel empowered to seek the help they need for anxiety.

  1. Anxiety disorders have a high genetic component, with heritability estimates ranging from 30% to 60%.

Genetic factors account for 30-60% of the variation in anxiety disorders among individuals. This range is determined by comparing identical twins, who share 100% of their genes, to fraternal twins, who share about 50% of their genes. If a higher similarity for anxiety disorders is observed in identical twins compared to fraternal twins, it suggests a significant genetic component.

In practical terms, this heritability estimate indicates that while genetics play a substantial role in the likelihood of developing anxiety disorders, environmental factors and individual experiences also significantly contribute to the risk.

  1. Anxiety is linked to a 52% increased likelihood of developing heart disease.

A meta-analysis of 37 papers found that anxiety is linked to a 52% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe there to be a strong causal link between the conditions. 

This could be partially explained by the physical mechanisms that underpin anxiety. The body’s stress response involves a cascade of physiological reactions that undue strain on the body, leading to increased wear and tear on the heart and blood vessels. While the risk of heart disease is significant, it may be possible to counteract these effects with effective stress management, anxiety coping skills, and healthy lifestyle habits.

  1. Exercise is associated with an approximately 55% reduction in anxiety symptoms

One 2023 meta-analysis of nine papers found that exercise is associated with an approximately 55% reduction in anxiety symptoms, with cardio and yoga standing out as particularly effective methods. In another meta-analysis, nature walks were linked to a 43% reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Exercise positively influences both biological and psychological mechanisms, boosting resilience against the everyday stress and worry that characterize anxiety. It can also help promote good sleep, which can further reduce anxiety symptoms. 

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to reduce anxiety symptoms by an average of 35%.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 69 randomized controlled trials found that CBT reduces anxiety symptoms by an average of 35%. This effect was observed across various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, PTSD, and OCD, with reductions ranging from 7% to 85% depending on the condition. 

CBT works by helping individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety. It is often considered the “gold standard” of talk therapy, due to its strong evidence base and effectiveness in treating a wide range of conditions. CBT is valued for its structured approach, short-term nature, and the tangible skills it provides for managing symptoms. 

Are you living with an anxiety disorder?

Online therapy for treating and managing anxiety

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or notice that your daily anxiety levels negatively impact your life, therapy can be an invaluable part of your self-care routine. With online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, you can match with a therapist who specializes in treating anxiety using evidence-based treatments like CBT and attend weekly online sessions. 

Research has found that online CBT may be equally effective as its face-to-face counterpart, and might be preferable for those who need an available, affordable alternative. With added features like guided journaling, digital CBT worksheets, and group therapy, you can make progress faster and get the most out of your time in therapy.


Anxiety is a common mental health condition, affecting all populations and age groups. A wealth of details show that it can be effectively managed through targeted self-help techniques and therapies such as CBT. To get started with a CBT-trained therapist specializing in anxiety, consider connecting with a licensed professional through BetterHelp.

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