Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults before the pandemic hit. Now that we’ve been in a constant state of uncertainty, loss and fear as the pandemic lingers longer than expected, those numbers have skyrocketed. Maybe you’re hiding your anxiety behind destructive perfectionism and people-pleasing. Or maybe you’re watching your world shrink as you accommodate your anxiety on a daily basis. If you’re holding a Starbucks in one hand and an anti-anxiety pill in the other as you unravel inside, you are not alone.
So often we think, “why can’t I control it”, “what’s wrong with me” or “if I just keep moving I’ll outrun it.” You don’t have to. Anxiety has spread like wildfire during the pandemic. You don’t have to hide it or run from it.
Experiencing anxiety is not a sign of weakness or lack of control. Nor is reaching out for help. When we are brave enough to be vulnerable and expose our wounds, we free others to release their shame and meet us in the light.
My goal here is that you feel seen, heard, and supported.
So I’ve compiled some stats and resources to underscore that this struggle is real, it’s widespread and bubbling just below the surface. I encourage you to seek treatment and support in any way you feel comfortable because I know that you are meant for so much more than accommodating your disorders.
Anxiety Facts + Resources
- Anxiety disorders can be caused by other medical problems you may have never thought of like thyroid conditions, diabetes, and asthma. Find more causes and risk factors here.
- A person with an anxiety disorder is three times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder at some point in their life compared to someone who has never been diagnosed with anxiety. Find out why and the effects of alcohol on your body and mind here.
- Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety disorders or panic attacks. (ADAA)
- A common manifestation of anxiety is perfectionism. Read more about how destructive perfectionism can be in “The Price of Perfectionism” by Dr. Gordon Flett, psychologist – York University
- Anxiety isn’t always just fear and worry. It can also manifest as irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, feeling agitated, sleep disruption, and GI issues. Find more about these symptoms and natural ways to relieve them here.
- Having a health condition, serious illness, or living during a pandemic can cause significant worry about issues such as infection, treatment, and your future. Find out more about the different causes and types of anxiety at the National Association of Mental Health.
- In a study comprised of nearly 2,500 individuals with an eating disorder, nearly 60% had an anxiety disorder. In 90% of women with anorexia nervosa, and 94% of women with bulimia nervosa, anxiety disorders preceded their eating disorder. Find out more about this connection here.
- According to the American College Health Association Fall 2018 National College Health Assessment, 63% of college students in the US felt overwhelming anxiety in the past year. This was before the pandemic. As you or your child heads back to campus, click here for ways to cope.
- “Reentry anxiety” is essentially the stress that people feel as it pertains to getting life back to normal,” Inger Burnett-Zeigler, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University recently told SELF Magazine. For ways to deal with the stress of post-pandemic life, find the full article here.
- One in four people aged 18 to 24 seriously contemplated suicide in June, 2021, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data are the latest in a series of reports highlighting increases in anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
- Express Scripts April 16, 2020 “America’s State of Mind Report”
- Anti-anxiety medications rose 34.1% from mid-February to mid-March in 2020.
- The percent increase in the number of new prescriptions between the week of February 16 and the week ending March 15 for anti-anxiety medications was 37.7%.
- More than three-quarters (78%) of all antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia prescriptions filled during the week ending March 15th (the peak week) were for new prescriptions.
- The was a 38% increase in anti-depressant prescriptions to 13 to 19-year-olds between
- Over the past year, U.S. prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications such as Klonopin and Ativan jumped 10.2% from 8.8 million in March 2019 to 9.7 million in March 2020, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from health-research firm IQVIA.
Anxiety Treatment Options
While these statistics can be comforting, for those suffering they can also feel devastating. Where do we go from here? According to the American Psychological Association, “Anxiety disorders are very treatable. Most patients who suffer from anxiety are able to reduce or eliminate symptoms after several (or fewer) months of psychotherapy, and many patients notice improvement after just a few sessions.”
Even if psychotherapy is not for you, techniques like meditation, exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, coaching, and certain medications can be extremely effective in reducing and managing your symptoms. A certain amount of anxiety is normal, so learning how to welcome rather than fear it is the key to taking back control of your life.
Want to learn how to not only manage your anxiety, but turn it into your SUPERPOWER?! Click here to take your first step to transformation.