33 Surprising Facts About Anxiety

surprising facts about anxiety

Anxiety can be a debilitating disorder, but you may find some peace in the fact that there are many others who are experiencing the same things as you are.

In this article, we are going to go over some of the most surprising anxiety facts that you may have never heard.

Anxiety Facts

1. GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment. (ADAA)

general anxiety quote

2. Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, missing out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse. (ADAA)

3. As of 2019, more than 80 percent of the U.S. population has acknowledged battling some form of anxiety. (Greatist)

4. Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders, affecting around 12% of U.S. adults at some point in their lives. (PsychCentral)

5. Specific phobias are also common. Worldwide, anywhere from 3–15% of people live with specific phobias, most commonly involving phobias to animals and heights. (PsychCentral)

6. The global cost of treating anxiety-related mental health disorders is anticipated to hit a mind-boggling $16 trillion within the next decade. (Greatist)

7. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) often co-occurs with major depression. (ADAA)

8. Some illnesses and diseases, like hypothyroidism, raise your chance of developing an anxiety disorder. (PsychCentral)

9. Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that people with anxiety have a greater tendency to label neutral smells as bad smells. (HeySigmund)

10. While curling up into a ball on the sofa may feel cathartic when anxious, good exercise actually releases plenty of stress-busting chemicals in your brain. (Greatist)


11. One study found that anxiety disorders were more than 2 times as prevalent in gender-nonconforming and transgender individuals as in cisgender (gender-conforming) males. (PsychCentral)

12. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic pain disorders, high blood pressure, asthma, and other physical health issues are associated with anxiety disorders. (PsychCentral)

13. Visualization is a simple but effective way to help distract your brain from worry. Turn negatives into positives, and picture handling your anxiety-inducing situation with calm. (Greatist)

14. Anxiety disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, stress buildup of stress due to an illness, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, or family history of mental health issues. (DoSomething)

15. Generalised Anxiety Disorder tends to develop later in life than other anxiety disorders, with an average age of onset of 35 years old. (PsychCentral)

16. People with anxiety are quicker to pick up on changes in facial expressions than those without anxiety BUT they are less accurate. (HeySigmund)

17. Getting quality sleep is key to keeping anxiety at bay. However, feeling stressed can stop us from nodding off — making it one big vicious cycle. (Greatist)

18. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 8% of American teenagers have an anxiety disorder. Symptoms often show up around 6 years of age. (HealthGrades)

19. Loneliness and isolation ranked among the top 3 factors contributing to worsened mental health in 70% of people with moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. (PsychCentral)

20. People who have a family history of anxiety or other mental health challenges are at increased risk for developing anxiety. (HealthGrades)

21. Based on data from the Mental Health America (MHA) screening tool, the number of people reporting signs of anxiety hit an all-time high in September 2020. (PsychCentral)

22. More than 44% of people of color reported discrimination as a significant source of stress in their life. (PsychCentral)

anxiety racism quote

23. According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic anxiety increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, chronic respiratory diseases, and gastrointestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS). (HealthGrades)

24. People who are experiencing a panic attack or severe bout of anxiety may feel like—and look like—they’re having a heart attack. (HealthGrades)

25. Exercise helps reduce stress and improves cognitive function. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which improve your mood and help you sleep. (PBH)

26. If your diet is high in sugar and refined or processed foods, it could be contributing to your anxiety. Studies show that a balanced diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help. (PBH)

27. Probiotic foods such as pickles, kefir and sauerkraut may also help anxiety. These foods help promote “good” bacteria in the gut, which is where most of your body’s serotonin receptors are located. (PBH)

28. When we feel anxious, the flight or fight response kicks in. When this occurs, blood flow is redirected from your extremities, such as your hands and feet, and towards the torso and vital organs. This creates the feeling of cold in your hands and feet. (Arcadian)

29. Because individuals who suffer from anxiety often struggle to stay in the present moment, it makes them often forgetful. (Arcadian)

anxiety quote blue

30. A common, but lesser-known side effect of anxiety is anger and irritation. When we feel powerless over a situation, or that our life is out of our control, expressing anger is a natural way to feel as though we have control. (Arcadian)

31. Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3. (ADAA)

32. Almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries with almost 1 million people taking their lives each year.  (ADAA)

33. Nearly 50% of Americans diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. (DoSomething)


  • https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics (ADAA)
  • https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-anxiety (DoSomething)
  • https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/anxiety-disorders/9-surprising-facts-about-anxiety (HealthGrades)
  • https://www.promisesbehavioralhealth.com/addiction-recovery-blog/facts-about-anxiety-disorders/ (PBH)
  • https://arcadiancounseling.com/10-surprising-facts-about-anxiety/ (Arcadian)
  • https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/anxiety-facts#10-facts (PsychCentral)
  • https://greatist.com/discover/facts-anxiety#stats (Greatist)
  • https://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-facts/ (HeySigmund)