Statistics About Anxiety

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million U.S. adults, or 18.1% of the population.

People with an anxiety disorder are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not have an anxiety disorder.

Only 36.9% of people with anxiety disorders are receiving treatment.

5 Fast Facts about Anxiety

Women are twice as likely than men to be affected by Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Social anxiety disorder affects 15 million U.S. adults.

Anxiety disorders develop from risk factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, and life events.

Anxiety can cause both physical and emotional symptoms such as chronic fatigue, nausea and irritability.

Anxiety disorders can interfere with job performance, school work, and relationships.

About Anxiety Disorders

Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of anxiety. Whereas normal anxiety is temporary, an anxiety disorder is a mental illness that causes constant, overwhelming anxiety and fear that doesn’t go away on its own, and gets worse over time. If feelings of intense fear prevent you from doing everyday activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Types of anxiety disorders

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason. Anxiety and worries can be about a range of things, from personal health, to work, to social interactions, or everyday life.
  • Panic disorder – people with panic disorders suffer recurring, unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is sudden period of intense fear that comes on quickly. Symptoms of a panic attack may entail sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, trembling, and heart palpitations. 
  • Social Anxiety Disorder – this is when you feel overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations, due to a fear of being negatively evaluated, which may result in avoiding social situations.

Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder

  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Heavy sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Feelings of panic
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Avoiding feared objects or places
  • Difficulty focusing

Causes of an Anxiety Disorder

  • Genetics – studies show than anxiety can be hereditary, or passed down between family members.
  • Brain chemistry – some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to malfunctioning circuits in the brain that control fear and emotions.
  • Environmental stress – living through stressful or traumatic events can increase risk for anxiety disorders.

Side Effects and Complications of Anxiety Disorders

  • Impair your ability to perform tasks because you have trouble concentrating
  • Take your time and focus from other activities
  • Sap your energy
  • Increase your risk of depression

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Anxiety disorders are treatable. If you suffer from anxiety, there is help available. In fact, if you think you have an anxiety disorder, it’s important to reach out for help to prevent complications.

There are a few different treatment approaches for anxiety, and the right treatment depends on each individual’s needs. A combination of treatments may be most effective in some cases.

Psychotherapy

Also called talk therapy, psychotherapy is one method for treating anxiety disorders. In order to be effective, psychotherapy needs to address the individual’s specific anxieties. 

 

One type of therapy that has shown to be effective for treating anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT teaches people different ways of thinking and reacting to anxiety-inducing situations.  CBT is the most researched type of psychotherapy for treating anxiety.

 

Another effective type of therapy for anxiety is Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. ERP therapy is most beneficial for individuals with specific phobias or social anxiety. ERP focuses on confronting the fears underlying an anxiety disorder to help people engage in activities they have been avoiding. The goal is that over time, the individual will experience less anxiety and develop better coping skills for dealing with the situation.

 

Medications

For many people, medications are a very effective treatment for anxiety disorders. Medications can be used for the short-term relief of symptoms, or for the long-term management of an anxiety disorder.

 

  • Anti-anxiety medications can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, or extreme fear and worry. Certain medications are best for short-term use, and do pose a risk for dependency, so it’s recommended to talk about these risks with your doctor.
  • Antidepressants, such as SSRIs, are also useful for treating anxiety disorders, especially for individuals who have co-occurring depression.

 

Complementary treatments – Alternative methods such as stress and relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, yoga, and physical exercise, can supplement treatment like therapy and medication.