Anxiety Stats

Read my anxiety story here.

Understanding Anxiety
There's a lot of stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Scientists think that, like heart disease and type 1 diabetes, mental illnesses are complex and probably result from "a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological, and developmental factors," according to the NIMH.
I think anxiety manifests differently for everyone who experiences it. The best explanation I have heard is this:
Imagine the crazy, panic-stricken feeling you'd get in your body if your car somehow got stuck going over a railroad track, just as the barrier came down. You hear the train whistle. You experience a shock to your system. Electric pulses seem to zap your brain. You can't catch your breath. Your heart skips a beat. You have a sense of being disconnected from reality.
Now imagine if your brain didn't know how to interpret a real danger, like driving toward an oncoming train, with a fake or perceived danger. Suddenly, you get that same bodily feeling all the time and without warning. Scenarios that should not incite fear somehow cause your body to react as if you were about to lose control, spiraling into lots of "What if?" thinking. (What if I pass out? What if I lose control? What if I were to die right here?) As you imagine the worst-case scenarios, your rational mind is trapped in a cycle that only makes the bodily feelings of panic worsen. Anxious thoughts lead to more bodily symptoms related to the body's natural "fight or flight" response which we use to deal with actual danger. Somehow, you know it's not real. The feelings, however, are completely real.

- In any given year, anxiety disorders affect about 18% of all American adults, or 40 million people, according to the NIMH.
- Women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, due to the way the brain processes a fight-or-flight response. While estrogen and progesterone keep the anxiety reaction going stronger and longer, there's often a lack of seratonin, which calms the anxious response.
- Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, panic, social anxiety, specific phobias (like snakes or heights), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Studies out of the U.K. show that almost 1 in 5 people feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time, while only 1 in 20 people never feel anxious.


  1. I have anxiety as soon as I get on a freeway or feel cars are not going to stop in time behind me. I find if I do not push myself to get out and drive more it gets worse. My husband died January 31 and it is hard to drive as all the emotions start. I was to,d the other day by a counselor that she had suffered the same. She said to try vitamin B-6 in higher doses. Oh boy that was a good article. Nope you are not alone.

  2. I know people, close friends and several family members (all women by the way), who suffer. I'm sure the statistics are incorrect, which is sad.


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