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Fact Sheet

Anxiety: Fact Sheet

Anxiety Disorders affect 18.1% of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54). – National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Apr 25, 2017 Although anxiety is very treatable, only 36% of those with anxiety actually seek treatment.

Anxiety is the body’s reaction to stress that triggers our fight, flight, or freeze response.

When there is immediate danger, the body marshals that energy to address the present situation. If the anxiety persists, it becomes counterproductive and may create emotional and physiological challenges.

Harvard Health states: “Evidence suggests that people with anxiety disorders are at greater risk for developing a number of chronic medical conditions. They may also have more severe symptoms and a greater risk of death when they become ill.”

Some of the common medical problems that may be related to anxiety include:

Respiratory Conditions, such as asthma and COPD

Gastrointestinal Conditions, such as IBS and ulcers

Heart Disease

Substance abuse and addiction

Migraines

For most people, stress hormones return to their pre-stress levels in 20 minutes – two hours after the issue is resolved. The symptoms of anxiety resolve as the hormones subside unless a person has an anxiety disorder. In those cases, the return to previous levels is still outside the normal limits, so symptoms are present most of the time.

There is a genetic component to anxiety. The genes are turned on by an environmental trigger or triggers. Some believe that trauma, child abuse and neglect, poverty, and other life experiences may ‘turn on’ these genes.

Some researchers believe that people can be born with a central nervous system that simply processes things differently, and that those people reach a level of saturation more quickly.

For more information:

“Facts & Statistics.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Harvard Health Publishing. “Anxiety and Physical Illness – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health Blog, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness.

Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/roots.aspx

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