Women And Under 35s Most Likely To Suffer From Anxiety, Study Finds

'Anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult for some people.'

06/06/2016 10:16

Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men, new research suggests.

The review of existing scientific literature, conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, also found that anxiety disproportionately affects people under the age of 35.

The scientists have now called for more research into anxiety disorders, which they say often manifest themselves as "excessive worry, fear and a tendency to avoid potentially stressful situations including social gatherings".

They estimate the disorders affect four in every 100 people worldwide, making them one of the most common mental health conditions.

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Author Olivia Remes, from the department of public health and primary care at the university, told the Press Association: “Anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult for some people and it is important for our health services to understand how common they are and which groups of people are at greatest risk.

“By collecting all these data together, we see that these disorders are common across all groups, but women and young people are disproportionately affected. Also, people who have a chronic health condition are at a particular risk, adding a double burden on their lives.”

The study also found that people from Western Europe and North America are more likely to suffer from anxiety than people from other cultures.

It found that North America had the highest proportion of people with anxiety worldwide, where almost eight out of every 100 people are affected by the conditions.

East Asia was found to be the least anxious location, with less than three in every 100 people reporting suffering from anxiety.

Overall, women were found to be almost twice as likely to be affected as men, and young individuals – both male and female – under the age of 35 were described as more likely to be affected than their elders. 

The report states that the annual cost related to anxiety disorders in the United States is estimated to be $42.3 million (£29.3 million).

In the European Union, more than 60 million people are affected by anxiety disorders in a given year, it adds.

Professor Carol Brayne, director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, commented: “Even with a reasonably large number of studies of anxiety disorder, data about marginalised groups is hard to find, and these are people who are likely to be at an even greater risk than the general population.

"We hope that, by identifying these gaps, future research can be directed towards these groups and include greater understanding of how such evidence can help reduce individual and population burdens."

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