While it is normal to get worried and ponder about things but anxiety is altogether a different game. It is a disease. Just like heart disease or diabetes. It is much more than inner turmoil and is generally seen as an overreaction to a not-so-problematic situation by the patient.
But like other mental health issues, anxiety is also ridden by stigma. Unaware people deem anxiety as an exaggeration. However, the disease can afflict severely even crippling routine activities.
Awareness about anxiety can help you or someone you know who might be grappling with the monster. Here are 30+ facts about the disorder which have affected many in the United States.
32. Level of Worry
It’s normal to worry, but general worriers tend to spend an average of 55 minutes a day worrying. People with anxiety disorders spend over 300 minutes a day worrying.
31. More Than One Type
There are many variations of anxiety such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), different phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
30. Asking for Help
Many people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for ten years or more before seeking help.
29. An Early Start
One third of adults with OCD experience symptoms in childhood.
28. Risks to Kids
Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 8 children. Children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
27. Physical Symptoms
Anxiety can cause a number of physical symptoms, especially during a panic attack. These symptoms include shortness of breath, shaking, nausea, headaches, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and more.
26. The Wrong Kind of Company
Anxiety disorders are often accompanied by other disorders. For example, GAD frequently occurs along with depression or substance abuse.
People who suffer from anxiety disorders are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.
24. Eating and Hyperactivity
Anxiety disorders often present in cases of eating disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
23. Number One
Beating even depression, anxiety is the number one form of mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of the US population.
22. The Cost of Worry
Anxiety disorders in the US cost more than $42 billion a year, which is a third of the country’s entire $148 billion mental health bill.
Anxiety is also a major symptom of depression
20. It Gets Worse
Approximately 10% of teenagers and 40% of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder of some kind.
19. Help Wanted
Despite being very treatable through therapy and/or medication, two thirds of adults do not receive treatment. Teenagers are treated even less frequently, where only 1 in 5 teen suffers receive help.
18. The Brain
Brain scans of people who suffer from various anxiety disorders have often shown evidence of chemical imbalances.
17. Gender Differences
Statistically, women are more commonly afflicted by anxiety than men, which is unsurprising given the fact that women have to put up with men.
16. Smarty Pants
Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in New York confirm that anxiety is positively correlated with IQ. This doesn’t mean that all folks with anxiety are smart, but it does mean that, on average, anxious people have a higher IQ.
If either or both of your parents suffer from anxiety, there’s a high chance you’ll experience it as well.
14. Isolating the Gene
In a 2013 study, the α-endomannosidase gene was found to be associated with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.
13. Learning From Parents
While nature certainly plays a part, nurture is also a culprit. Anxious parents are more likely to visibly doubt their child’s competency, less likely to grant autonomy, and more likely to raise an anxious child.
12. Fear Itself
Not just regular fears, phobias can be seriously debilitating, inducing intense panic that can cause sufferers to go to great lengths to avoid the subject of their fear. Unless you’re running from giant spiders. Then it’s just common sense.
11. Not Just Soldiers
Soldiers aren’t the only ones to suffer from PTSD. Survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, accidents, and natural disasters can all suffer from post-traumatic anxiety.
10. The Trauma of Sexual Assault
Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD where 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder.
9. Fire and Hair
OCD has some close relatives in other compulsions and manias such as pyromania and trichotillomania, which are respectively, the uncontrollable need to start fires and to pull out their own hair.
Anxiety disorders can be triggered by extended environmental stress or traumatic life events.
7. Run It Out
Anxiety is the body’s fight or flight response in full swing. Physical activity is the natural end to this response, so exercise can balance out the neurochemicals that contribute to anxiety.
6. The Scent of Fear
If you suffer from anxiety, there’s a really good chance that you have a greater tendency to label neutral smells as bad smells, as anxiety can effect olfactory triggers.
5. You Spin Me Right Round
Anxiety can interfere with balance, and anxious people can get dizzy without any identifiable cause. Studies show that anxious people sway more than non-anxious people.
4. Making Faces
Anxious people are quicker to pick up on changes in facial expression, but they are less accurate in their interpretation. This means anxious people often misinterpret other people’s emotional states and intentions, creating tension and conflict in relationships.
3. Personal Space
Everyone likes personal space. While it differs for people, it’s generally about 20-40 cm away from our face. For anxious people, the personal space zone is much wider.
2. What a Treat!
A variety of treatment options exist, such as talk therapy, coping strategies, medication, and alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. One or a combination of these can be put together to find an effective way to treat a particular brand of anxiety.
1. You’ve Got a Friend
People with social anxiety often think they don’t come across well. However, research has shown that people, particularly friends, think anxious people are wonderful. This is possible due to the sensitivity that anxious people display, which means their words are generally well considered and leave a good impression.