Everyone gets anxiety or feels depressed every now and then. It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Have you ever wondered if others have anxiety, feel the same as you or how common it generally is? Here’s a little info on the topic as well as tips on what you can do to get a relief.

The statistics

Worldwide

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries with almost 1 million people taking their lives each year. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety. The WHO reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide with specific phobia, major depressive disorder and social phobia being the most common anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

 

Common diagnoses

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.
Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. GAD often co-occurs with major depression.

Panic Disorder (PD)
PD affects 6 million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. population.
Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.

Social Anxiety Disorder
SAD affects 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. population.
SAD is equally common among men and women and typically begins around age 13. According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.

Specific Phobias
Specific phobias affect 19 million adults, or 8.7% of the U.S. population.
Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
Symptoms typically begin in childhood; the average age-of-onset is 7 years old.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD affects 2.2 million adults, or 1.0% of the U.S. population.
OCD is equally common among men and women.
The average age of onset is 19, with 25 percent of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD affects 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population.
Women are more likely to be affected than men.
Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder.
Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.
15% of  veterans and soldiers suffers from PTSD post-war.

Major Depressive Disorder
The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3.
MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old.
More prevalent in women than in men.

Persistent depressive disorder, or PDD, (also called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years.
Affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. (about 3.3 million American adults). Only 61.7% of adults with MDD are receiving treatment. The average age of onset is 31 years old.

Eating disorders
At least 70 million people worldwide suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa at some point in their lifetime and about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia.
3.5% sexual minority women and 2.1% of sexual minority men reported having an eating disorder..

Related Illnesses
Many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness, which can make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. It’s essential to be treated for both disorders.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, along with depression.

Read on to learn more about the co-occurrence of anxiety and these disorders:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Adult ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder)
  • BDD (body dysmorphic disorder)
  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stress

Children
Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.

Older Adults
Anxiety is as common among older adults as among the young. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness.

 

Self-help

Accept that anxiety is normal
A common reaction to anxiety is to tell yourself that you should not have anxiety, which triggers more anxiety. Try instead not to put any judgement or value in your thought and look at them from the outside.
The best thing you can do to relieve anxiety is to accept it.
Anxiety is normal and necessary for our survival. Most of us need it to be scared and anxious not to make too big and deadly mistakes.

Put away the phone
That the mobile phone disturbs our night’s sleep is previously known, but also the feeling of being constantly available to others can have negative consequences for our health: Like stress, depression and anxiety.

Although the idea of ​​not playing Candy Crush and or scrolling Instagram in bed makes you shudder, you have a to gain from turning off the technology gadgets before going to bed.

Another fact is that social media is the main creator of the extreme rise in depression lately, caused by manipulated pictures and made up lifestyles in order to show others how good you´re doing. A common symptom here is that the more you post, the more attention you crave, the worse you’re feeling. This goes  both ways for all consumers, posting or passive.

Put your anxiety in perspective to another
Anxiety can, as I said, be necessary for our survival, but most people who suffer from it can later see that the feeling is not always proportionate to what actually happened.

A good way to relieve your anxiety at the moment is to try to see if you can think of what you are afraid of. Perhaps one is left with a task and are afraid that the boss will think that one is incompetent and in the worst case fire one.

The next step is to ask yourself if that scenario is really likely. In the vast majority of cases, it is not so likely that you will get fired and be hated by everyone because you miss a deadline.

Start breathing deeper
Did you think deep breathing is nonsense? There is a lot of nagging about curbing your anxiety with deep breaths, and that’s because it works. It does not take more than a minute for you to notice the effect.

Already after three or four breaths, the body has started activating its repair mode as well as lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

Pull a deep breath through your nose, far into your stomach. It should take about five seconds. Hold your breath for a few more seconds and then breathe out for ten seconds. Repeat until you feel calm.

Cherish your healthy habits
When anxiety and stress creep on us, it is often the healthy habits that goes away first. You stop exercising, cooking and eating well and social events. At the moment it may feel nice, if you are not overwhelmed by more anxiety, but there is a reason why you call the habits healthy – they are good for us and giving them up will make us feel worse.

If you feel that you are feeling bad, ask yourself if you have eaten healthy, exercised, slept well and met a good friend lately?

Have a strategy for dealing with anxiety
That said, it is perfectly normal to suffer anxiety. It’s not nice, but pretty normal. Most people probably dream of living a life free of anxiety, but it doesn’t work that way.

Instead, the goal must be to learn to live with it, without being completely consumed by it. The strategies for how to do this can look different, but it is good to be able to pull one out of the jacket when needed.

Examples of strategies may be to clear the mind with a walk or guided meditation when you feel the anxiety come creeping, to set clear boundaries at work, clean up the home, exercise or just tell a friend or family member that you have anxiety.

Go to therapy
Talking about it is the first step to curing any form of depression or anxiety, getting it physically and verbally out of your body, even most psychologists go into therapy themselves.

 

Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the most common and effective form of therapy for dealing with the disorders above, including general depression and anxiety.

It is based mainly on acceptance and mindfulness, coping with thoughts instead of forcing them away. Instead of using exhausting amounts of energy to chase your thoughts away, you learn to deal with them and go with the wind instead of against it.

A lot of people today are going to therapists, psychologist and counselors. The stigma about therapy is steadily going away as more and more people are getting more aware about the benefits of speaking about their problems and receive help with sorting out thoughts and getting a new perspective on their way of thinking.

If you you’re having a hard time, dysfunctional thoughts or just feel down and depressed or any other of the diagnoses above, don’t hesitate to contact a therapist to get some support and techniques to help you cope and look at things differently, you are certainly not alone and there are solutions waiting for you, even for the darkest of days.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: