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Facts about Anxiety Disorders

written by: Nicky LaMarco • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 3/15/2011

More than nineteen million people suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. What are the different types and which other illnesses often co-occur with them? Read on to discover some essential facts about anxiety disorders.

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    How Many People Suffer from Anxiety Disorders?

    anxiety disorders Anxiety disorders as a whole are the most common mental illnesses in the world. Over 19 million American adults suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That figure is put at 40 million by The Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Why the gap?

    It is possible that the ADAA is including more anxiety disorders than NIMH. While there are seven different types of anxiety disorders commonly referred to, there are in fact many more. The lesser known types that are also considered anxiety disorders include eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, separation anxiety disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and trichotillomania.

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    What are the Main Types of Anxiety Disorders?

    The main types of anxiety disorders (along with how many people in the US have them) are:

    • Panic Disorder

    There are 6 million people suffering from panic disorder with twice as many women as men. A co-occurrence of depression is very common with this anxiety disorder. There are two different types of panic disorder, one with agoraphobia and one without agoraphobia.

    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    There are 2.2 million people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder and it is as common in men as it is in women. Hoarding is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million people. Twice as many women suffer from this anxiety disorder than men.

    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Rape is the most common trigger of post-traumatic stress disorder. Childhood sexual abuse is another. Veterans of war are also likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. There are 7.7 million Americans suffering from this anxiety disorder. About 65 percent of men who are raped and 45.9 percent of women who are raped will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    • Social Anxiety Disorder

    Social anxiety disorder affects 15 million Americans. Onset usually begins around the age of thirteen. It is equally common among men and women. A survey conducted by the ADAA showed that 36 percent of people with social anxiety disorder go 10 or more years before seeking help.

    • Specific Phobia Disorder

    Nineteen million Americans suffer from a specific phobia disorder with women twice as likely to be affected as men.

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    Co-Occurrence of Other Illnesses

    Depression is very common in those with an anxiety disorder. Approximately 50% of people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Other illnesses commonly co-occurring with anxiety disorders are irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia, substance abuse, adult attention deficit disorder, stress and body dysmorphic disorder.

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    Children and Anxiety Disorders

    Anxiety disorders also affect about 1 in 8 children. Kids with anxiety disorders who are not treated are more likely to perform badly at school, abuse alcohol and/or drugs, and avoid some social events.

    Perhaps the best fact about anxiety disorders is that they are all treatable.