How common is generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition that involves excessive, uncontrollable, and often irrational worry or fear about day-to-day events. GAD affects millions of people worldwide and can have significant impacts on their daily lives. Let’s dive deep into the statistics to see just how common this condition really is.

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Before we get started with the numbers game, let’s briefly explore Generalized Anxiety Disorder itself. If you’re experiencing excessive anxiety or worry for prolonged periods of time without any specific cause or trigger, then it’s likely you have GAD.

People who suffer from GAD are constantly worried about issues related to work/school performance, personal relationships, finances or future prospects etcetera. The most severe cases may even include distressing physical sensations like heart palpitations, shortness of breath and sweating.

Prevalence Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

As per recent studies conducted globally by various organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in America and many more; GAD has been established as one of the most widespread medical conditions affecting human life today.

Here are some startling numbers:

Worldwide Statistics

  • It has been estimated that over 275 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder globally.
  • A total global gender prevalence study suggests women tend to report higher levels than men for all types except obsessive–compulsive personality disorder.
  • Around 14% population worldwide suffers through lifetime prevalence rates while nearly 8-9% deal with current public health concern related incidents.

United States Statistics

In America alone:


According to NIMH,

  • roughly around 19 million American adults aged between18-54 years old ranging from mild discomfort through acute dysfunction;
  • Women suffering from this particular ailment outnumber men at a staggering ratio of 2:1.

Children and Adolescents

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions that plague children and adolescents in America:

  • An estimate of nearly one-third of American kids develop an anxiety disorder from ages 6-18 years old.
  • Women tend to report higher levels than men, with transition period being aged anywhere between teenagehood(13) through which adulthood ends approximately at age thirty (30).

Indian Statistics

In India,


As per a report by the Indian Journal Of Psychiatry related to GAD prevalence study concerning adults;

  • Nearly 3-5% people experience active symptoms ranging from moderate to severe intensity
  • Maintaining an incredible trait, more women respondents reported suffering compared to men.

Risk Factors for Developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder

While many people will go through stressful experiences every so often during their lives; there’s always potential for any such event contributing towards development of GAD. Here are some risk factors:

Genetics/Family History

A substantial number of research studies have suggested that family history can act as significant predictor toward developing anxiety disorders including GAD.

Life Events/Stressors

Stressful life events or chronic stress may trigger off symptoms associated with GAD.

Some common examples include exposure to natural disasters like earthquakes/famines, traumatic occurrences such as sexual/physical abuse etcetera.

Substance Abuse

Using drugs/alcohol is commonly known as another way someone might deal with overwhelming emotions but it can also be considered worth noting here that it is highly likely these substances could play a part in causing/contributing towards the onset of generalized anxiety disorder over time.

Variety ranges from caffeine-based products all the way up-to narcotics!


All in all, though levels differ proportionally depending on location/country where calculation was conducted… It’s safe to say whenever you come across friends/family members who’re struggling to put to rest unyielding worries that may have no rational explanation behind them, there might be good chances they’re living with GAD.

So next time you know someone who seems like an unusual bundle of energy-worry, hence probably needs your support and kindness now more than ever.

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