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Anxiety in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

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. As of 2017, it was estimated that around four percent of the global population suffered from anxiety disorders, making anxiety, along with depression, one of the most common mental health disorders in the world.

In the United States, it was estimated that around 6.6 percent of the population suffered from anxiety disorders as of 2017. Anxiety disorders in the U.S. are more common among females than among males, with 8.4 percent of females suffering from such disorders, compared to 4.8 percent of males. General feelings of anxiety which do not necessarily meet the conditions of a disorder are much more common. A Statista survey from 2017 found that 33 percent of females and 23 percent of males stated they suffered from anxiety at least sometimes. A separate survey from a different source in 2019 found that personal and family safety, the ability to pay bills or expenses, and personal health were the most common aspects of life that people in the U.S. were anxious about.

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. In the period from 2011 to 2014, an average of 5.3 percent of the U.S. population used prescription anti-anxiety drugs in the past month, an increase in the share seen in periods between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002. In some cases, it is also possible to prevent, treat or manage anxiety at home through relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga, stress management, exercise, sleep, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol.

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Anxiety in the U.S.

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