You can sense it wherever you go: If you are walking down the street, watching television or using social media: People are more anxious. For whatever reason—and there are many—countless individuals have speculated as to whether or not America is becoming a more anxious country. Let’s look at the facts and try to figure out if this is true.
Unfortunately, the statistics suggest that America is becoming a more anxious nation. According to available information, nearly 1 in 5 Americans actively suffer from some sort of mental illness, and one in two will over the course of their lifetime. When it comes to anxiety, almost 30% of all Americans will develop an anxiety disorder. These are huge numbers, and significant increases over where mental illness rates used to be.
Is It More Common?
There is no question: As noted by the above, mental illness—and specifically anxious disorders—are more common. Broadly speaking, anxiety levels are rising. However, it’s worth noting that these increases are occurring across the board and over every major demographic group. Furthermore, increases are being observed over multiple types of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, various types of phobias, agoraphobia, and more. This does not bode well for our long-term health as a nation, and these disorders are having a major impact on the economy of our country. Because it has become more common, it’s important to try and figure out what we can do to treat it.
There are a variety of theories about what is behind the increase of anxiety in this country. Certainly, our enhanced interconnectivity is to blame, and the rise in technology allows us to be made more aware of the world’s various problems and challenges, causing more people to be afraid. Furthermore, it seems apparent that social media is related to this spike in anxiety, although whether an increase in social media use is a cause or effect of increased anxiety remains to be seen. This seems particularly apparent among younger generations. Anxiety about world events also seems to be a contributing factor.
Sadly, the evidence seems to be clear: Anxiety disorders are on the rise in the United States. All of us have an obligation to be more aware of these challenges and do whatever we can to find solutions and support our loved ones who suffer.
Here’s another article you might like: How Yoga and Meditation Can Help Control Your Emotions in a Positive Way