- Psychological Issues
Current generalized anxiety disorder statistics are largely focused on the USA and Europe, however there is some limited information about its prevalence in certain other countries. When looking at generalized anxiety disorder statistics, it’s important to note that not every country uses exactly the same diagnostic criteria for GAD. Depending on where you seek help and treatment will determine whether or not you are diagnosed with this condition. Also Generalized Anxiety Disorder has many symptoms which overlap with other anxiety disorders and conditions (such as panic disorder and social phobia) which can result in confusion when obtaining a diagnosis. GAD rarely occurs alone and is often linked with Depression and substance abuse issues.
GAD affects approximately 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the US population and between 2-5% of the UK population. Of the US figures, 1% are considered to be suffering from the severe form of the disorder. Globally, there is prevalence data for the following countries:
Compared to other anxiety disorders, GAD tends to present with an earlier onset and a more gradual development. It can start at any age, with children developing it usually at 8 or 9 but research by Kessler and Berguland showed that the mean age of onset for GAD was 32.7 years of age.
Socio-economic factors which predispose people to develop GAD include being separated, divorced or widowed, being a lone parent and being from low to middle-class income groups.
From research on the US population it was shown that women were twice as likely to suffer from GAD as men. The National Institute of mental health (USA) reports that women are 60% more likely to develop it. This could be due to the fact that more women than men are subject to discrimination, poverty and sexual abuse which are triggering factors, also that women are more likely to visit their doctor and consequently increase their chances of being diagnosed.
GAD is also the most common anxiety disorder in older people although in this age group, it is mostly related to illness or traumatic events such as a fall.
Differences in GAD rates across cultural groups have been shown, although it is difficult to ascertain the exact reasons for this. Variations in the presentation of symptoms may be a factor along with differences in the interpretation of symptoms.
People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder have a higher mortality rate compared to the rest of the population, although they have the same chances of suffering age-related illness such as cancer and heart disease.
In terms of recovery and progress, 6 studies were carried out by Peter Fisher and Robert Durham of Dundee University (UK) which showed that treatment approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Applied Relaxation were the most effective and had recovery rates of 50-60% when patients were observed at a 6-month follow-up.