“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Anxiety Effects On Society Statistics

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

Anxiety Disorder Statistics

Anxiety Disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54). - National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Current estimates put this number much higher - approximately 30 percent - as many people don't seek help, are misdiagnosed, or don't know they have issues with anxiety.

According to The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders, a study commissioned by the ADAA and based on data gathered by the association and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one third of the $148 billion total mental health bill for the U.S.

More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of healthcare services, as those with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.

People with an anxiety disorder are three-to-five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than non-sufferers.

Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America. It's estimated that one third of the North American adult population experiences anxiety unwellness issues.

A recent survey showed 41 percent of employees from a range of industries reported high levels of anxiety in the workplace.

A recent study by University of Toronto Scarborough and Rotman School of Management professors Julie McCarthy and John Trougakos, along with Bonnie Cheng from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, found that high levels of emotional exhaustion that come from workplace anxiety can directly lead to lower job performance.

Another report found that more than half of college students sought help for their anxiety issues. Research has found that anxiety can impede learning, which often leads to lower academic achievement and performance.

Anxiety and anxiety related conditions negatively impact individuals and our society, yet few seek and receive good help:

Anxiety Disorder Statistics - 30 percent
  • Approximately 30 percent of the adult population in North America have anxiety unwellness issues (anxiety disorder)
  • Only one third will receive treatment, and of those, only ten percent will receive proper treatment.
  • Those who experience anxiety have a very high propensity for drug abuse and addictions.

Further statistics show:

  • 65% of North Americans take prescription medications daily, 43% take mood altering prescriptions regularly.
  • There were over 3.3 Billion prescriptions filled in America in 2002 (12 times the U.S’s population - that’s 12 prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. that year).
  • Paxil and Zoloft (two of the more popular anti-anxiety medications) ranked 7th and 8th in the top ten prescribed medications in the US (these two medications totaled almost $5 Billion in sales in 2002).
  • Recreational drugs are also used to cope with anxiety.  42% of young adults in America regularly use recreational drugs (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Alcohol is commonly used to cope with anxiety. 72% of Canadians consume alcohol each year.
  • 10% of Canadians admit they have an alcohol problem.
  • In 1998, 50% of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-related fatalities. (CBC Report)
  • 70,587 Canadians were charged with impaired driving in 1998. (CBC Report)
  • 25 - 40% of all patients in US hospitals are being treated for complications resulting from alcohol related problems (The Marin Institute)
  • 10% of all deaths in Canada result from alcohol-related diseases.
  • Alcohol-related car crashes are the number one killer of teens. Alcohol use is also associated with homicides, suicides, and drownings—the next three leading causes of death among youth (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention)

Marijuana and anxiety:

  • 10 percent of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) also suffered with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) - Research by Dr. Julia D. Buckner at Louisiana State University, Dr. Richard G. Heimberg at Temple University, Dr. Franklin Schneier at Columbia University, and Dr. Carlos Blanco’s team at the New York State Psychiatric Institute analyzed data from the 2001‒2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).
  • Research, as well as our personal and professional experiences with marijuana and anxiety, shows marijuana (pot, weed, dope, etc.) can cause panic attacks and prolonged issues with anxiety. For example, in a recent online poll we conducted, 40 percent of those who tried marijuana said marijuana contributed to their struggle with anxiety disorder. Of those, 16 percent said their anxiety problems resulted directly from pot use. As well, 72 percent of those who had a negative experience with pot said marijuana contributed to their struggle with anxiety.
  • Recent research has found that fatal car accidents involving marijuana use have tripled in the USA.
  • Marijuana use by teens has dramatically escalated over the last ten years in spite of the fact that marijuana use at that age can cause permanent cognitive impairment.

NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES REFER TO ADULT U.S. POPULATION AFFECTED.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: 6.8 million, 3.1%.

  • Women are twice as likely to be afflicted than men. We believe the number of men who struggle with generalized anxiety is much higher because many don't report it to their doctors.
  • Very likely to be co-exist with other disorders.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 2.2 million, 1.0%.

  • It is equally common among men and women.
  • One third of afflicted adults had their first symptoms in childhood.
  • In 1990 OCD cost the U.S. 6% of the total $148 billion mental health bill.

Panic Disorder: 6 million, 2.7%.

  • Women are twice as likely to be afflicted than men (we believe the number of men who struggle with panic disorder is much higher because many don't report it to their doctors).
  • Often co-exists with depression.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 7.7 million, 3.5%.

  • Women are more likely to be afflicted 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.

Social Anxiety Disorder: 15 million, 6.8%.

  • It is equally common among men and women.

Specific Phobia affects: 19 million, 8.7%.

  • Women are twice as likely to be afflicted as men.

SOURCE: Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)

According to our statistics over the last 10 years, 54 percent of woman and 46 percent of men experience anxiety disorder.

These are just a few of the ways unresolved anxiety affects our society.

Those who have an anxiety condition:

  • Often feel out of control of their health and life
  • Experience higher levels of overall stress
  • Often struggle with low self-esteem
  • Feel nervous in many social situations
  • Have difficulty managing pressure
  • Have higher expectations of themselves and others
  • Feel returned love is performance-based
  • Often have unhealthy boundaries
  • Are often workaholics
  • Are more often sick
  • Often have unhealthy relationships
  • Visit the doctor more often
  • Tax the medical system (with frequent trips to their doctor or emergency rooms)
  • Are more likely to take medications
  • Are more likely to have other health problems
  • Are overall more unhappy
  • Experience erratic emotional behaviors
  • Often quick to get angry
  • Regularly feel unsettled
  • Regularly feel overwhelmed
  • Feel disconnected or detached from reality and life
  • Often feel they are just on the edge of losing control
  • Often aren’t reliable (because their symptoms may prevent them from following through)
  • Become inward focused and dwell on their health condition and personal problems
  • May jump from relationship to relationship in search of perfection
  • May jump from job to job because of higher levels of stress
  • Live a restricted lifestyle (within their self-imposed “safe zones”)
  • Feel life is passing them by
  • Question their faith and God’s presence in their lives
  • Feel at a distance from God

In addition to anxiety disorder impairment, those who seek help may encounter real and perceived barriers to help:

  • the individual or medical professional may not recognize the symptoms
  • symptoms may interfere with the person’s ability to seek help
  • specialized help may not be available in their area
  • long waiting lists limit access to professional help
  • the individual has insufficient medical insurance coverage
  • they may believe there is a stigma attached to mental illness and wish to avoid any association with it
  • they may be avoiding the perceived appearance of “weakness”
  • they may be in denial

We encourage anxiety sufferers to seek help. Only through proper help can lasting health be attained. Many believe that their condition will “ just go away”. Unfortunately, the reverse is true…the longer the condition remains, the more entrenched it becomes, and the more difficult it is to resolve. Seeking proper help early provides the best results.

With the right help and healing, those who have experienced an anxiety condition can:

  • Regain control of their health and life
  • Live a balanced, happy, and fulfilling life
  • Have happier and more fulfilling relationships
  • Become the individual they always thought they could be
  • Reconnect with life in a more rewarding and satisfying way
  • Live an unrestricted lifestyle ready to tackle any challenge
  • Express themselves like never before
  • Live a more accepting life, appreciating uniqueness and imperfection
  • Experience a more stable work environment
  • Freedom from medication and/or drug use
  • Reconnect with their faith and feel God’s presence
  • Have a closer relationship with God

These are just a few of the many benefits healing and a return to renewed health can bring.

Here is a listing of common anxiety symptoms.

For more information about our Anxiety Therapy, Coaching, Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Symptoms; our anxiety Recovery Support area; common Anxiety Myths; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate graphic below:


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources:


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