While it's normal and functional to feel anxious in challenging situations, such as a first date or job interview, anxiety poses a problem when the endless baseless worrying and obsessive thoughts take over your life. If you suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does, then you know how overwhelming and burdensome the condition can be. Whether or not you're familiar with anxiety, here are some interesting facts about the mental illness that you may not know.
Anxiety is among the most common mental illnesses in the UK
If you suffer from anxiety, know that you are not alone. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the UK. A survey covering Great Britain found 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of "neurotic health problem" in the previous week, with the most common being anxiety and depressive disorders. Research has also found more than 1 in 10 people are likely to suffer from a disabling anxiety disorder at some stage in their life, and about 13% of the adult population will develop a phobia at some time point (Source).
More women have anxiety than men
While anxiety affects both men and women, most anxiety is more common in women. In England, women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders (Source). According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women in the U.S. are twice as likely as men to have generalized anxiety disorder (GED), panic disorder, and specific phobias.
It's not all mental
Anxiety doesn't just mess with your thoughts; it presents a number of physical symptoms too. Those who suffer from anxiety may experience headaches, fatigue, insomnia, tremors, muscle tension, dizziness or upset stomach. Often times, anxiety patients mistake their physical anxiety symptoms for a medical illness.
Many anxiety sufferers don't seek treatment
While anxiety disorders can be treated with medication and/or psychotherapy, many sufferers don't seek treatment. It's estimated that only one-third receive treatment for their anxiety.
Anxiety can be caused by life events and genetics
Some patients are surprised to find out they have anxiety when they haven't suffered a traumatic or stressful life event. According to Stuart MacFarlane, a leading psychotherapist, anxiety disorders are can arise from a variety of risk factors, including brain chemistry, genetics, and trauma.