How common is anxiety? These anxiety facts and statistics will make you think. In a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, an estimated 57% of Americans said the current political climate was a significant cause of stress. Negative behaviors such as drinking, smoking, unhealthy eating habits or arguing with loved ones, coincide with stress or anxiety. It’s clear stress levels, nervousness and resentment are intruding on many people’s lives and interpersonal relationships.1

Does that mean all these people have an anxiety disorder? No, the difference between feeling anxious and a full-blown anxiety disorder is akin to feeling down on occasion and suffering from major depression. There is a fine line, so when anxiety starts negatively impacting a person’s life, it could turn into a clinical disorder without some type of intervention. The following anxiety statistics and facts shed light on the impact of anxiety disorders in America.

  1. More people have a full blown anxiety disorder than those who smoke cigarettes.

    Cigarette in hand
    How many people have anxiety? The fact of the matter is everyone experiences anxiety sometimes, even young children. Anxiety disorders impact an estimated 18.1% of adults in the U.S. or more than 44 million people ages 18 and older. To put this in perspective, the percentage of adults with severe anxiety now exceeds the percentage who smoke cigarettes (18.1% vs. 15.1%).2,3

  2. Females are plagued by anxiety more than males.

    Woman with headache
    Women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder.2

  3. Generalized anxiety disorder impacts the same number of people who collect non-elderly disabled Medicaid benefits.

    Elderly hand
    Generalized anxiety disorder impacts an estimated 3.1% or 6.8 million U.S. adults.2 About the same number of disabled people younger than age 65 receive Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. This includes people with physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities.5

  4. In April 2017, the number of new jobs equaled the number of people with panic disorder.

    man at job shaking hands
    About 6 million adults in the U.S. are impacted by panic disorder in any given year. The disorder typically develops in early adulthood and impacts twice as many women as men.6 In April 2017, that was the exact same number of new jobs available.7

  5.  The lifetime prevalence rate of social anxiety disorder is the same as the number of Americans who didn’t know what USB stood for in 2014.

    HSB Stick
    The lifetime prevalence rate of social anxiety disorder (SAD) is higher in the U.S. (12.1%) than any other country. The second highest rate is New Zealand at 9.5%. That’s not to say this percentage of people suffer from SAD at any one time; the 30-day prevalence is 3.5% in the U.S.8 Oddly, a 2014 survey showed 12% of Americans think USB is the acronym for a European country.9

  6. PTSD affects eight times the population of Mississippi!

    An estimated 8% of Americans or 24.4 million people have post-traumatic stress disorder at any given time.10 That’s twice the population of Pennsylvania (12.78 million), nearly four times the population of Tennessee (6.65 million) and eight times the population of Mississippi (2.99 million).11

  7. Nearly 7% of American adults have separation anxiety disorder, while slightly more drivers involved in fatal crashes had prescription opioids in their system.

    Separation anxiety disorder is far more common in children, however, it can impact adults. Adult separation anxiety disorder (ASAD) was long underdiagnosed because it was classified under “childhood onset” disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The lifetime prevalence of ASAD is estimated at 6.6%.12,13 The prevalence of prescription opioids detected in drivers who were fatally injured increased from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015.14

  1. ‘Post-election stress disorder’ sweeps the nation. PBS News Hour website. Published February 23, 2017. Accessed August 6, 2017.
  2. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. National Institute on Mental Health. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  3. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated December 1, 2016. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  4. Women Are Twice As Likely To Have Severe Headaches, Migraines As Men. American Council on Science and Health website. Published June 27, 2017. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  5. Who Are the 7 Million Nonelderly Adults with Disabilities in Medicaid and What Would the House GOP Bill to Restructure Medicaid Financing and Repeal the Affordable Care Act Mean for Them? Kaiser Family Foundation website. Published March 16, 2017. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  6. Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Accessed August 7. 2017.
  7. U.S. has record 6 million job openings, even as 6.8 million Americans are looking for jobs. CNN Money website. Published June 6, 2017. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  8. Stein DJ, Lim CCW, Roest AM, et al. The cross-national epidemiology of social anxiety disorder: Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. BMC Medicine. 2017;15:143. doi:10.1186/s12916-017-0889-2.
  9. Grenoble R. Huffington Post. 11 Percent Of Americans Think HTML Is An STD, Survey Says. March 5, 2014. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  10. PTSD Statistics. PTSD United website. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  11. List of U.S. states and territories by population. Wikipedia website. Updated July 20, 2017. Accessed August 7, 2017.
  12. Bögels SM, Knappe S, Clark LA. Adult separation anxiety disorder in DSM-5. Clin Psychol Rev. 2013 Jul;33(5):663-74. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2013.03.006.
  13. Silove DM, Marnane CL, Wagner R, Manicavasagar VL, Rees S. The prevalence and correlates of adult separation anxiety disorder in an anxiety clinic. BMC Psychiatry. 2010;10:21. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-21.
  14. Chihuri S, Li G. Trends in Prescription Opioids Detected in Fatally Injured Drivers in 6 US States: 1995-2015. Am J Public Health. 2017 Sep;107(9):1487-1492. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303902.

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