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Anxiety - How common is anxiety disorder?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

It's hard to know how common anxiety disorder is. That's partly because many people who have it don't see a doctor, and when they do they may not get the right diagnosis.

Doctors call this illness generalised anxiety disorder. We're calling it anxiety disorder for short.

We don't know if anxiety disorder is becoming more common or less common. Older studies looking at anxiety disorder used different definitions for the disorder, so it's hard to compare their results with recent studies.

This is what we know about how many people have anxiety disorder.

  • At any one time, between 1 and 5 in 100 adults have anxiety disorder.[4][11]

  • About 6 in 100 adults get anxiety disorder at some time in their life.[11]

  • Many people with anxiety disorder suffer in silence. Only about a half of people with anxiety disorder ever go to a doctor for it.[1]

  • Many people with anxiety disorder have another mental illness at the same time. Often, that other illness is depression, phobia, or panic disorder.[4] See Other types of anxiety disorder to learn more.

  • Women are about twice as likely as men to have anxiety disorder.[4][11][1]

  • Anxiety disorder is less common in older people.[11]

  • In one study, just under 1 in 100 UK children aged 5 to 16 had symptoms of anxiety disorder.[15]


For references related to Anxiety click here.
Last Updated: December 17, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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