Anxiety affects millions of people worldwide. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) indicates anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults ages 18 and older every year. This equates to around 19% of the population.
What is an anxiety disorder?
The National Institute of Mental Health says anxiety disorders include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. Though the causes of these anxiety disorders may differ, each is characterized by excessive anxiety and related behavioral disturbances.
Anxiety disorders can range from mild to severe, and could affect daily life in various ways. Those with anxiety disorders are three to five times more likely to visit the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not have anxiety disorders, states the ADAA.
Who gets anxiety?
Factors such as genetics, personality, and lifestyle can determine if a person is likely to develop an anxiety disorder. According to Healthline, those in professions such as health care and social work, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to experience anxiety and elevated stress levels.
There are several steps people can take to alleviate anxiety every day.
- Exercise: Moving more may help to relieve stress that can lead to anxiety. Study participants who engaged in exercise two days per week reduced overall perceived stress. Physical activity also can improve mood.
- Sleep: Quality and quantity of sleep can affect mental health. Doctors recommend around eight hours of sleep each night. If anxiety is affecting sleep, try to establish a healthy sleep routine. Turn off screens a few hours before attempting to retire. Be sure the bed is comfortable. Keep the room’s temperature on the cool side. Also, stick to a schedule.
- Supplementation: Healthline notes that some studies have found that certain dietary supplements may help with stress and anxiety. An eight-week study of 264 people with low magnesium levels found that taking 300 mg of this mineral daily helped reduce stress levels. Combining magnesium with vitamin B6 was even more effective.
- Psychotherapy: The Mayo Clinic indicates counseling or psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can effectively address anxiety. CBT often includes exposure therapy, in which a person is gradually exposed to the object or situation that triggers the anxiety to eventually build confidence that he or she can manage the situation and anxiety symptoms.
- Medication: Used in conjunction with other techniques, medications may help address severe anxiety conditions. Certain antidepressants and a medication called buspirone are used to treat anxiety disorders. In limited circumstances, sedatives may be utilized, but long-term use is not recommended.
Anxiety disorders can affect anyone. Various techniques could be used to alleviate anxiety.