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Americans Experience A Sharp Increase In Anxiety

Americans Experience A Sharp Increase In Anxiety

An online poll, conducted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has found that Americans are becoming more anxious about their safety, health, finances, politics, and relationships. The poll, conducted in March, found the national anxiety score, which is derived on a 0 – 100 scale, is 51, a five-point jump since 2017.

The poll results found that anxiety in Americans increased in all age groups and demographics (race, ethnicity, and men and women). Overall, millennials continued to be more anxious than Gen-Exers or baby boomers, but baby boomers’ anxiety increased the most over last year with a seven-point jump.

An American Psychiatric Association article states:

“While more Americans are anxious than last year in all five areas (health, safety, finances, relationships and politics), the greatest increase was in anxiety about paying bills. Nearly three-quarters of women, nearly three-quarters of young adults (18 – 34) and nearly four in five Hispanic adults are somewhat or extremely anxious about paying their bills.”

“Women are more anxious than men, and also had a greater increase in anxiety than men between 2017 to 2018. When asked to compare their anxiety to the previous year, more than half (57%) of women 18-49 years reported being more anxious, compared to 38% of men the same age. Older Americans also see this gender gap – 39% of women 50 and older and 24% of men 50 and older say they are more anxious now than this time last year. Overall, nearly four in 10 people (39 percent) say they are more anxious than they were last year.”

Other findings include:

“This poll shows U.S. adults are increasingly anxious particularly about health, safety and finances. That increased stress and anxiety can significantly impact many aspects of people’s lives, including their mental health, and it can affect families.” said APA President Anita Everett, M.D. “It highlights the need to help reduce the effects of stress with regular exercise, relaxation, healthy eating and time with friends and family.”

The poll also found that the vast majority of Americans believe mental health affects physical health, and that untreated mental illness has a significant impact on the economy. Moreover, about fifty percent of respondents said there is less stigma associated with mental illness than ten years ago.

While there are a number of natural strategies that can help reduce anxiety, such as regular exercise, meditation, relaxation, rest, eating healthy, getting good sleep, and spending time with loved ones, these may not be enough if anxiety reaches the disorder level – when anxiety interferes with a normal lifestyle. Anxiety disorders can be successfully treated with good self-help information, such as that in our Recovery Support area, and with the help of an experienced anxiety disorder therapist. Since there is so much good help available, no one needs to suffer with an anxiety disorder.

You can find the online poll results here.


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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or 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.


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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated July 21, 2018.

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