Anxiety statistics

Explore the impact and prevalence of anxiety disorders: insights from UK mental health statistics and research.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry or general unease that we all get from time to time, be it when we go for a job interview or go for our first day at school. If these feelings persist, or are so extreme that they considerably affect normal life, you could have an anxiety disorder, just like the 6% highlighted in these UK mental health statistics.

Part of understanding anxiety is educating ourselves on data and research on the topic. To help you gain that understanding of how common anxiety is, we’ve listed some relevant facts and figures from leading organisations in mental health, academia and public health.

Prevalence

  • In England in any given week in 2013, there was a 6.6% prevalence of anxiety [1]
  • In 2014, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety reported in the UK [2]
  • It’s estimated that globally, 284 million people had an anxiety disorder in 2017 [3]
  • In any given week the prevalence of: [4]
  • Mixed anxiety and depression is 8 in 100 people
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is 6 in 100 people
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is 4 in 100 people
  • Phobias is 2 in 100 people
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is 1 in 100 people
  • Panic disorder is fewer than 1 in 100 people
  • The UK has the 62nd highest rate of anxiety in the world. New Zealand is 1st (8.54%) [3]

Demographics

  • In England, women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men [2]
  • The 12-month prevalence rates for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), GAD, and specific phobias were highest in the 18 to 34 year age group, while they were highest for panic disorder in the 35 to 49 year group. In the 50 to 64 year age group, prevalence rates decreased. They were lowest in older people (aged 65 to 79 years) [5]
  • The median age of onset for anxiety disorders is 11 years [6]
  • Anxiety disorders were more common among young women aged 16 to 24 (GAD 9.0%; phobias 5.4%; OCD 2.4%; and panic disorder 2.2%) than in other age-sex group in England [1]
  • 7% of females have an anxiety disorder globally compared to 2.8% of males suffering from anxiety [3]
  • 50 to 69 year olds are most likely to have an anxiety disorder as adults (4.67%). 70+ year-olds are the least likely (4.11%) [3]
  • In 2008, 8.42% of women aged 18 to 24 years old were diagnosed or had symptoms of anxiety. By 2018, this had trebled to 30.33%. In men aged 18 to 24 years old, the rate had increased from 4.95% to 14.88% [7]

Anxiety and treatment

  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment [8]
  • People with an anxiety disorder are 3 to 5 times more likely to go to the doctor and 6 times more likely to be hospitalised for psychiatric disorders than those who don't suffer from an anxiety disorder [8]

Anxiety and other health conditions

  • 6 in 10 (62%) of those with anxiety also have depression [7]
  • 20% of people with an anxiety or mood disorder such as depression have an alcohol or other substance use disorder [8]

In the workplace

  • In 2020/21 anxiety, depression and stress accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases [9]
  • In the years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related anxiety, depression or stress had shown signs of increasing. In 2020/21 the rate was higher than the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus levels [9]

The COVID-19 pandemic

  • Between 20 and 30 March 2020, almost half (49.6%) of people reported high anxiety and average anxiety scores of 5.2 out of 10, a marked increase from 3 in the last quarter of 2019 [10]
  • For someone who reported that they 'often or always' felt lonely, the odds of reporting high anxiety (scoring between 6 and 10 out of 10) were almost 5 (4.7) times greater than those for someone who 'never' felt lonely [10]
  • The percentage of people who are married or in a civil partnership that reported high levels of anxiety significantly increased since the last quarter of 2019; 39% up from 19% [10]
  • Of the 822,000 workers suffering from work-related anxiety, depression or stress in 2020/21, an estimated 449,000 reported that this was caused or made worse by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic [9]

anxiety statistics infographic

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

Call Us
Tap on a number to call
Enquire