Anxiety disorder statistics

The most accurate anxiety disorder statistics

The World Health Organization (WHO), Harvard University, University of Michigan, and country-based researchers worldwide are in the process of collecting anxiety disorder statistics for the The World Mental Health Survey Initiative (WMH). The surveys cover 27 countries in all regions of the world and collect statistics about the prevalence of mental, substance, and behavioral disorders.

The core disorders assessed in the WMH surveys are anxiety disorders (panic disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD), mood disorders (major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, bipolar disorder), impulse control or disruptive behavior disorders (ADHD, conduct disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder), and substance disorders (alcohol and drug abuse-dependence).

Measuring mental disorders across different cultures is challenging because some cultures are not as open about mental disorders as other cultures. Previous studies relied on self-reports which causes anxiety disorder statistics to be under-reported. The World Mental Health Survey uses a more robust measure and collection process and is considered more accurate. These are the findings from the ongoing World Mental Health Survey. This article will be updated as more data is published.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide

What are the most common mental disorders worldwide? Anxiety disorders were the most common in all countries studied except in 1 country. The survey looked at anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse control disorders, and substance disorders as shown below.

% population with mental disorders

anxiety statistics world us

Mental Disorder Categories

World*

US*

1. Anxiety disorders

2.4 - 18.2%

18.1%

2. Mood disorders

0.8 -9.6%

9.5%

3. Substance disorders

0.1-6.4%

3.8%

4. Impulse control disorders

0.0-6.8%

8.9%

* These statistics were for 1-year. 1-year means how many people have this mental disorder at a specific point in time.
Lifetime means how many people have had this mental disorder at any time during their lifetime. Individuals can get better during their lifetimes.
Source: World Mental Health Survey Initiative | National Institute of Mental Health 

Specific phobia and social phobia are the most common anxiety disorders worldwide

The three most common mental disorders are specific phobia, major depressive disorder, and social phobia as shown in the table below. Major depressive disorder (MDD) often co-occurs with anxiety disorders in a large percentage of the population (source).

The 3 most common mental disorders

anxiety statistics world

3 Most Common Mental Health Disorders

World Population - Lifetime^

World Population - 1 year*

1. Specific phobia (Anxiety)

6-12%

4-8%

2. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

4-10%

3-6%

3. Social phobia (Anxiety)

Approaching MDD

Approaching MDD

^ Lifetime means how many people have had this mental disorder at any time during their lifetime. Individuals can get better during their lifetimes.
* 1-year means how many people have this mental disorder at a specific point in time.
Source: World Mental Health Survey Initiative

What are the most prevalent anxiety disorders in the US?

The percentage of the US population suffering with anxiety disorders is estimated below. Specific phobias are the most common anxiety disorder for US adults and children followed by social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder). 

% US population with anxiety disorders

anxiety statistics US

Anxiety Disorders in the US population (lifetime)

Adults

Children

12.5%

15.1%

12.1%

5.5%

5.7%

1%

4.7%

2.3%

1.4%

2.4%

Source: World Mental Health Survey Initiative and US National Institute of Mental Health

The World Mental Health Survey is the most accurate collection so far for anxiety disorder statistics. We will add to this article as more data is collected and published.



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