Barriers to Overcoming Anxiety Disorder - Introduction

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From 1974 to 1986, I (Jim Folk) experienced debilitating anxiety disorder, which included every anxiety symptom we list at our website to severe degrees, as well as intense and prolonged panic attacks. This 12-year struggle with anxiety disorder was one of the most negatively impacting events of my life. When I look back on those years, I’m saddened because of the years I lost to anxiety disorder, and so needlessly.

I struggled those many years solely because anxiety disorder was widely misunderstood back then. Had the information we have today been available back then, I could have shaved years off of my struggle.

Fortunately, anxiety disorder is well understood by some of today’s leading anxiety disorder recovery organizations whose recovery strategies work time and time again. But this is not to say that good information and help is widely available. In fact, very few in the medical and mental health sectors provide effective help for problematic anxiety.

This is one of the reasons why anxiety disorder has been sharply on the rise over the last ten years.

When you combine ineffective treatment with the rising stresses and pressures of today’s society, anxiety disorder takes a major toll on people and society itself. For example, research over the last 16 years has found:

  • Approximately 20 percent of the population in North America experiences anxiety disorder. This number is thought to be much higher (closer to 30 percent) since many people aren’t diagnosed, are misdiagnosed, or don’t report their struggle with anxiety.

The social impact of anxiety disorder is staggering:

  • Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill, according to "The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders," a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60(7), July 1999).
  • More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses. - ADAA
  • 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 those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders. - ADAA

These statistics don’t include the costs associated with the dramatic rise (almost 10 percent) in anxiety disorder cases over the last ten years.

When you combine this with the dramatic rise in stress disorder, depression, insomnia, and psychotropic medication use, the costs of these disorders in both the drain on financial resources and personal toll is staggering. For example:

  • A report issued by Medco Health Solutions found that 1 in 5 adult Americans took a psychiatric medication in 2010. The statistic was 1 in 4 for women.
  • The report also found antidepressants were widely used by women at almost twice the rate of men. The greatest use was in women aged 45 to 65 years, where 11 percent of all American women were taking an antianxiety medication in 2010.
  • The report also found an alarming dramatic rise in psychiatric medication use among children where atypical antipsychotics doubled from 2001 to 2010.
  • A 2012 study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that 14.2 percent of America’s youth who met criteria for a mental disorder was taking a psychotropic medication. And 2.5 percent of America’s teens were prescribed a psychotropic medication without any diagnosis of mental illness.

The impact of mental illness is dramatic and sharply rising year after year.

  • Research has also found that only one third of people who struggle with these disorders seek help and only ten percent of those receive good help.

The tragedy in all of this is that all of these disorders can be overcome with the right information, help and support. That means no one has to suffer with any of these disorders, and especially anxiety disorder, which is the focus of this section.

If people can overcome anxiety disorder, why don’t they?

That is the subject of this section entitled, “Barriers To Overcoming Anxiety Disorder

Over the next few months, we are going to be publishing many of the common barriers to overcoming a struggle with anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing anxiety disorder and/or have been working at overcoming it, yet find your recovery incomplete, these articles may be helpful in getting your recovery back on track.

We invite you to return here often to see the newly added articles. Or, ‘like’ our Facebook page, ask to become a Facebook friend, or subscribe to our News and Tips eNewsletter. We’ll be sending out notifications when each new article comes online.

We hope you find these articles interesting, helpful, and inspiring. We wish you every success in overcoming a struggle with anxiety unwellness (anxiety disorder).

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

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