Facts about anxiety disorders
Many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-existing mental health disorder or physical illness; this obviously can make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. Anxiety can also increase the likelihood of or exacerbate physical illnesses — evidence suggests that people who suffer from anxiety are also at greater risk for developing a number of long-term physical health conditions. Aside from diseases such as gastrointestinal problems, anxiety is also a primary culprit in the problematic use of substances.
More than half of those with depression also have anxiety which may exacerbate symptoms and impact upon outcomes and recovery time. Along with depression, anxiety disorders are frequently also evident in those with eating disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, most anxiety disorders are more common among women, with the exception of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder, which are seen in both sexes at equal rates.
Interestingly, anxiety is more prevalent in developed countries and among women. For example, a recent study found that in the case of GAD, Australia and New Zealand had the highest lifetime rates of GAD with the United States having the third-highest rate. The actual figures are likely to be higher than reported as not all people feel able to admit that they experience anxiety. In addition, cultural factors can affect disclosure rates in countries either where openness around mental health issues is discouraged or where there are different cultural explanations for mental health.
Anxiety disorders place a considerable burden in many ways. They are reported to cost the U.S. in excess of $42 billion a year, which amounts to as much as one-third of their total mental health bill. More than half of those costs are related to the repeated use of healthcare services because those with anxiety disorders tend to frequently seek assistance for symptoms associated with physical illnesses.
People who suffer from an anxiety disorder are three-to-five times more likely to visit the doctor. They are also six times more likely to be hospitalized for mental health issues than non-sufferers.
Facts about anxiety causes
Genetics play a role in anxiety so if you have a parent who suffers from anxiety, the chance of you also experiencing it yourself is increased by approximately one third. However, while studies show that anxiety tends to run in families, the influence of nature over nurture (that is, genetics versus life experience, especially in the family environment) remains unclear.
Facts about anxiety treatment
The first line of treatment for anxiety disorders is talking therapies and medication. However, there are also many natural approaches that people employ to manage anxiety. For example, as little as 20 minutes of exercise may reduce feelings of anxiety, if only temporarily. It can even assist with reducing anxiety when managing future stressful situations. Meditation or mindfulness-based approaches are also gaining credence as studies find that regular sessions may reduce anxiety by as much as forty percent. Another study found that people who have good nutrition and especially including food with omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics (fermented foods), and B-vitamins are typically less anxious than those on diets of processed or high-sugar foods.
Facts about six key types of anxiety disorders
There are six most commonly recognized anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder; social anxiety disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; panic disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; and specific phobias. Symptoms differ according to the specific form of anxiety, but in general, those who experience anxiety frequently feel “on edge” or apprehensive, experience difficulties sleeping, and have issues around breathing such as shortness of breath.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD affects nearly seven million adults, or around three percent of the U.S. population, yet less than half of them are receiving treatment. Women are fifty percent more likely than men to be affected. GAD is often co-morbid with major depression.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
SAD affects 15 million adults or nearly seven percent of the U.S. Population. It is equally prevalent in both sexes and generally emerges around the age of 13. Surveys suggest that more than one-third of those with social anxiety disorder report waiting for 10 or more years before seeking help.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD affects over seven million adults or over three percent of the U.S. population.
Women are more likely to be sufferers than men and serious sexual assault (rape) is the most likely trigger of PTSD. Studies suggest that more than two-thirds of men and nearly half of all women who are raped will develop the disorder. Childhood sexual trauma is a key indicator of the likelihood of future PTSD.
Panic Disorder (PD)
PD affects six million adults or nearly three percent of the U.S. Population. Women are fifty percent more likely than men to suffer with it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD affects more than 2 million adults or approximately one percent of the U.S. Population. It is equally prevalent among men and women.
Specific phobias affect 19 million adults or nearly 9 percent of the U.S. Population. Symptoms tend to appear in childhood – with the average age of phobia presentation at seven-years-old.
Facts about anxiety disorders to take away
Clearly, the facts and statistics around anxiety show the magnitude of the problem. The key fact to take away is that anxiety disorders are eminently treatable and if you suffer from this debilitating condition, you can change this and perhaps avoid being yet another statistic.