Generalized anxiety disorder facts

Interesting generalized anxiety disorder facts.

Generalized anxiety disorder facts infographic

Generalized anxiety disorder facts


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic and disabling disorder that can have expensive consequences on society. People with GAD not only function less on a social level, but also at work and other areas of functioning. Also, people with GAD often suffer from other disorders as well, such as Major Depressive Disorder and Social Phobia. Proper generalized anxiety disorder facts are hard to find, because (1) a lot of professionals fail to diagnose this disorder, as its symptoms are similar to other mental disorders, and (2) studies use different questionnaires to assess GAD, which makes it difficult to find consistent generalized anxiety disorder facts.
 

 
Despite these difficulties, results have been listed from studies conducted in the US and Europe. The generalized anxiety disorder facts are categorized in the following paragraphs (click on each paragraph to jump to that particular paragraph):

  1. Prevalence USA.
  2. Prevalence Europe.
  3. Demographics USA and Europe.
  4. Comorbidity.
  5. Disability/treatment.
  6. Literature.

 
 

At Barends Psychology Practice we offer (online) therapy for Generalized anxiety disorder. Contact us to schedule a first, free of charge, online session. (Depending on your health insurance, treatment may be reimbursed).

 
 
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Generalized anxiety disorder facts – Prevalence USA.

  • The mean age at onset of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is 32.7.
  • 4.1% of American adults have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at least once in their lives. (2.8% men vs. 5.4% female).
  • 2.1% of American adults had generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in the past twelve months. (1.3% men vs. 2.8% female).

 
 

Generalized anxiety disorder facts – Prevalence Europe.

  • 2.3% of Dutch adults have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at least once in their lives (1998). (1.6% men vs. 2.9% female) [1].
  • 1.2% of Dutch adults have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in 1998 [1].
  • 4.5% of Norwegian adults have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at least once in their lives. (2.4% men vs. 6.1% female).
  • 1.9% of Norwegian adults had generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in the past twelve months.

 

  • In the UK more women have GAD compared to men (3.4% vs. 2.8%).
  • 6.9% of Italian adults have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at least once in their lives. (3.8% men vs. 9.5% female) [1].
  • 2.1% of Hungarian adults have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at least once in their lives. (1.8% men vs. 6.8% female) [1].
  • 2.8% of the adults in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at least once in their lives, and 1.0% in 2003. (2.0% men vs. 3.6% female) [2].

 

* The studies in The Netherlands, Italy, and Hungary used the DSM-III criteria to diagnose GAD. The other countries used the DSM-IV or ICD-10 criteria. According to the DSM-III someone suffering of the GAD symptoms for only 1 month meets the criteria whereas for the DSM-IV this would not be enough (the symptoms need to be present for at least 6 months). This may have affected some data presented.

** This study was conducted in these six countries, and they used the DSM-IV criteria for GAD.
 
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Generalized anxiety disorder facts – Demographics USA and Europe.

  • Native Americans (6.3%) develop GAD more often than White people (4.6%), Afro-American (3.0%), Hispanics (2.8%), and Asians (1.9%).
  • In the US people between 45-64 years of age more often suffer GAD (5.2%) compared to the age groups 30-44 (4.6%), 18-29 (3.2%), and 65+ (2.6%).
  • In the US widowed, separated or divorced people (6.8%) more often suffer GAD compared to married/cohabiting people (3.7%) and never married people (3.3%).
  • In the US people who only finished high school (4.3%) more often suffer GAD compared to people with a college degree or higher (4.2%) and people who didn’t finish high school (3.7%).
  • In the US the higher the income the less likely it is people suffer GAD: $70000+ annually (2.9%) followed by $35000-$69999 (3.9%), $20000-$34999 (3.9%), and $0-$19999 (4.6%).

 

  • In the US people in rural areas more often suffer GAD (4.6%) compared to people living in urban areas (4.0%).
  • In Europe people of 45 and older more often suffer GAD (6.9%) compared to the age groups 35-44 (5.9%), 25-34 (6.0%), and 15-24 (2.0%).
  • In Europe 10.3% of the women of 45 and older suffer GAD at least once in their lives compared to 3.6% of the men of 45 and older.
  • In Europe 7.2% of the women between 35-44 suffer GAD at least once in their lives compared to 4.6% of the men between 35-44.
  • In Europe 7.1% of the women between 25-34 suffer GAD at least once in their lives compared to 4.7% of the men between 25-34.

 

  • In Europe 2.5% of the women between 15-24 suffer GAD at least once in their lives compared to 1.5% of the men between 15-24.
  • Older women have a higher chance of developing GAD compared to younger adult women.
  • Younger adult men have a higher chance of developing GAD compared to older men.
  • Older people worry more and for longer periods of time than younger people.

 
 

Generalized anxiety disorder facts – Comorbidity.

  • 60.5% of people with GAD have at least one other mental disorder, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders or personality disorders [5].
  • People with GAD more often developed alcohol or drug dependency than alcohol or drug abuse [2].
  • People with GAD were more likely to also have a mood disorder compared to another anxiety disorder or a personality disorder [2].
  • Of the mood disorders Bipolar I (8.8%) and Dysthymia (7.1%)  were the disorders most associated with GAD [2].
  • Of the anxiety disorders Panic disorder with agoraphobia (13.3%) and social phobia (8,4%) were the disorders most associated with GAD [2].
  • Of the personality disorders (PDs) Dependent PD (13.1%) and Avoidant PD (10.7%) were the disorders most associated with GAD [2].

 
 

Generalized anxiety disorder facts – disability/treatment.

  • The average amount of GAD episodes reported by people in the US was 3.4. On average each episode lasted 11.1 months.
  • Younger people with GAD usually worry about finances, family, and work, whereas older people with GAD worry about diseases and health.
  • People with GAD report a lower quality of life in the following areas: general health, physical health, bodily pain, vitality,
    mental health, role functioning (due to physical and emotional difficulties), and social functioning compared to those without GAD [4].

  • In the US, almost 50% of the people diagnosed with GAD got treatment for this disorder specifically.

 
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  • Online CBT treatment guided by a counselor is as effective as face-to-face CBT treatment for GAD.[3]
  • In 2004 the average cost of each person with GAD who received treatment in Europe was €1804 (approximately US$ 2000).
  • GAD in combination with alcohol, drug use, other anxiety, or personality disorders did not increase disability in people.
  • GAD in combination with mood disorders did increase disability in people.

 
 

Literature used to obtain these generalized anxiety disorder facts: