About Anxiety

Current Anxiety Disorder Statistics

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

Current Anxiety Disorder Statistics

Anxiety is a life altering condition. It's one that can affect the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you live your life. Unfortunately, anxiety is also incredibly common, affecting millions of people in the United States and millions more around the world.

This article will explore some key anxiety statistics. But the most important statistic you need to know is this: according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 86% of those with anxiety disorders either do not seek treatment, or use treatments that are inadequate for stopping anxiety.

Your Anxiety Disorder

It's important to note first that these statistics have a few problems. First, they're a bit misleading. It's possible to experience anxiety that would benefit from treatment, but not necessarily qualify as an anxiety disorder.

The second issue is that these are all estimates, and anxiety is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. Panic attacks, for example, may be diagnosed as other conditions or receive no diagnosis at all. This can throw off the overall statistics on anxiety.

Lifetime Prevalence

While year to year statistics are interesting, lifetime prevalence is the most important statistic in terms of the number of people that suffer from anxiety. 12 month prevalence statistics only show the number of those living with anxiety now, but your chances of developing anxiety at some point in your life are based on previous lifetime prevalence data.

The following is the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in your life. Note that this is data on adults only.

  • Any Anxiety Disorder: 28.8%
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: 5.7%
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.6%
  • Panic Disorder: 4.7%
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: 6.8%
  • Social Phobia: 12.1%
  • Specific (Other) Phobia: 12.5%

Every individual country has its own statistics, but they are likely to be somewhere near these overall numbers. Most other countries do not diagnose anxiety the same way as they do in the United States, nor do they adhere to the same measurements.

These numbers also do not necessarily represent the only factors at play for whether you will develop anxiety. Genetics plays a strong role, especially with panic disorder, so if your family members have panic attacks you'll increase your chances of getting it too. Experiences also play a role, and anxiety in general may be increasing in overall numbers as more and more people become inactive and struggle with a stressful world.

Treatment Seeking and Adequacy

According to the NIMH, the following represent the number of people that are living with or have experienced these anxiety disorders in the past 12 months in the United States alone.

  • Any Anxiety Disorder: 40,000,000
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: 6,800,000
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 2,200,000
  • Panic Disorder: 6,000,000
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: 7,700,000
  • Social Phobia: 15,000,000
  • Specific (Other) Phobia: 19,000,000

Also, remember that these numbers do not include those that suffer from anxiety but do not qualify for a disorder. It's possible to suffer from anxiety and need treatment but still not be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

So when added together, the numbers are pretty astounding. But what makes them more interesting is that according to NIMH, less than 43% of those with anxiety seek treatment, and only 33.8% of those people seek treatment considered "minimally adequate." That means that of all the people living with anxiety, only 14.3% are currently engaged in an effective treatment - and again, that number excludes those with daily manageable anxiety.

Other Interesting Anxiety Statistics

Women are 60% more likely to suffer from most anxiety disorders as men. This is especially true of post-traumatic stress disorder, due to issues with rape. Non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to experience anxiety than any other ethnic group in the United States by roughly 25% on average. Also, roughly 50% of children that experience anxiety in their youth will go on to develop an anxiety disorder.

Questions? Comments?

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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