Anxiety is a normal human emotion of worry, fear, tension or apprehension about what is to come. Everyone experiences anxiety to greater or lesser degrees and although it is unpleasant, it is usually fleeting. However, when anxiety is extreme and persists over an extended period of time, it can be debilitating. Such cases are referred to as anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety disorder. Symptoms of such disorders include panic and fear, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, difficulty sleeping, nausea, and dizziness. It is estimated that around four percent of the global population suffer from anxiety disorders, making anxiety, along with depression, one of the most common mental health disorders in the world.
How common is anxiety in the United States?
In the United States, it is estimated that around 6.2 percent of the population suffers from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders in the U.S. are more common among women than among men, with 7.7 percent of women suffering from such disorders, compared to 4.6 percent of men. General feelings of anxiety which do not necessarily meet the conditions of a disorder are much more common. A survey carried out in 2019 and published by the CDC found that 19 percent of women and 12 percent of men in the U.S. experienced symptoms of anxiety in the past weeks before being surveyed. The COVID-19 pandemic has had massive mental health ramifications around the world and surveys have shown that the pandemic increased feelings of depression, isolation, worry, and anxiety in many people in the United States. A survey from the CDC that has run through the pandemic and has measured symptoms of anxiety disorder among U.S. adults found that in August 2023, almost 32 percent of women and 25 percent of men had symptoms of anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder treatment
In many cases it is possible to manage and prevent anxiety at home through relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga, stress management, exercise, sleep, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Anxiety disorders, however, are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Some of the most common anti-anxiety medications in the U.S. include alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), and clonazepam (Klonopin). In 2020, there were around 16.78 million prescriptions of alprazolam (Xanax) filled in the United States, a decrease from previous years. Alprazolam costs around 20 U.S. dollars with average out-of-pocket costs averaging 4.25 dollars.
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