Anxiety disorder epidemiology: worldwide prevalence and


Javaid Syed Fahad,

Emmanuel Stip, Mohammed Abdul Samad, Ibrahim Jawad Hashim, Muhammad Jawad Hashim, and Alia Al Ahbabi

Volume 30, Article 44, Middle East Current Psychiatry (2023) Reference this page

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Background Abstraction

Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent 9xflix mental health issues. This study looked at the burden of anxiety disorders during the previous three decades on a worldwide and regional scale. The purpose of the study was to identify high-risk populations and trends in order to better precisely target management and preventative actions. The most recent Global Burden of Disease dataset’s epidemiological data on anxiety disorders were examined to calculate the rates of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 204 countries and regions from 1990 to 2019.



301 million individuals, or 4.05% of the world’s population, suffer from an anxiety illness. Between 1990 and 2019, there was a more than 55% rise in the total population impacted. Metrics for anxiety disorders indicate that rates of DALYs, incidence, and prevalence are always rising. With 8,671 occurrences per 100,000, Portugal has the highest prevalence, followed by Brazil, Iran, and New Zealand. In areas with higher incomes, the prevalence is higher. Anxiety problems affect women 1.66 times more frequently than they do men. The stability of age-standardized rates suggests that risk factors may also be steady.

In conclusion

Over the past thirty years, anxiety problems have become more common. Urbanization, a more reliant older population, and socioeconomic progress all seem to be associated with an increase in the prevalence of anxiety. Prospective investigations on this subject matter may encompass the creation of more precise cross-cultural measures to evaluate anxiety and its associated factors, in addition to skin care in hindi wellhealthorganic  population-based analyses to evaluate patterns in anxiety across time.


A generic or situation-specific reaction to perceived dangers is linked to anxiety disorders, which are biopsychosocial diseases [1]. In the past, the prevalence of anxiety has drawn a lot of research interest [1, 2, 3]. Among the most prevalent mental illnesses are anxiety disorders. Though they typically manifest early in infancy, they have a major functional impact, a purposefully persistent progression, and similarities with other mental diseases. The population’s health and quality of life are seriously threatened by the rising incidence of anxiety worldwide [2]. Anxiety disorders present with various clinical symptoms. Some people develop phobias as a result of particular environmental stressors [3]. Similar to panic disorder, others may suffer from significant episodic distress [4]. The fight-or-flight response is triggered by these events when cubvh  it is interpreted as a threat by the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. This response might take the shape of psychophysiological symptoms as perspiration, lightheadedness, and elevated heart rate [5]. Many other health problems, including dementia, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, can be brought on by untreated chronic anxiety [6,7,8]. Currently available anxiety treatments usually combine psychotherapy and medication [9]. Pharmacological interventions can address the physiological reaction linked to anxiety, but psychological interventions are necessary to address the psychological triggers and memories that give rise to fear. A substantial amount of research indicates that cognitive behavioral therapy and other psychotherapies are more long-term helpful for people with anxiety problems [5, 10, 11]. In order to pinpoint trends related to demographic characteristics and more precisely target preventive and management efforts throughout the community, researchers need to comprehend the epidemiological nature of anxiety [4].

Understanding population patterns, such as whether anxiety is rising or falling, variables linked to shifting trends, and elements in the regulation and treatment of anxiety disorders, depend heavily on disease epidemiology. The wide variations in prevalence rates across the globe may indicate a variation in the distribution of risk factors for certain conditions. However, the development of diagnostic criteria throughout time and methodological and cultural factors likely have a significant impact. There hasn’t been a recognized recent synthesis of the global epidemiological evidence linked to anxiety disorders, despite the fact that epidemiological data are available for many countries [11,12,13]. Information on the true frequency and causative elements of anxiety disorders may be misrepresented due to variations in the reporting and documenting of anxiety across international borders [14]. In order to assess population-wide trends and potential anxiety-causing factors, as well as to more effectively target health promotion initiatives to lessen the financial and social burden associated with this mental health issue, a thorough epidemiological study of the global burden of anxiety disorders and their sociodemographic associations is required.

This study sought to assess the regional and global burden of anxiety disorders based on gaps in the literature related to the epidemiology of anxiety. Based on patterns found in the epidemiological data, a forecast and trend analysis for anxiety disorders was also provided. This study’s evaluation of annual changes in anxiety disorders using age-standardized rates—which were utilized to account for the impact of an aging population—was one of its most distinctive contributions.


Source of data

Prevalence, incidence, and mortality rates linked to anxiety disorders at the international, regional, and national levels were the inclusion criteria for the data. Clinic-based records and other subnational data were included in the exclusion criteria. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) dataset was used to derive health metrics related to anxiety disorders (see Additional file 1). [15].

Additionally, each country’s Social Development Index (SDI), which is a gauge of social and human development, is provided by GBD. The SDI, which goes from 0 to 1, is a composite of three factors: income, total fertility rate, and education. The GBD dataset is solid since it draws from a variety of sources, including government publications, independent research, healthcare registries, vital registration, and census-related data [16]. GBD has been applied in epidemiological research for various illnesses such as dementia and yields trustworthy estimates of health metrics [16]. In order to resolve data sampling problems such as missing data and differences in the case definition, modeling adjustments are used to verify the data reliability. The Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER statement, see Additional file 2) were followed in the conduct of this study. [17].

More World Bank Databank ( demographic data were gathered [18]. These included GDP per capita, the proportion of the working-age population that is dependent on the older population (age dependency), the percentage of the population that lives in urban areas relative to the overall population (urbanization), and the percentage of the labor force that is unemployed. Our World in Data ( provided information on alcohol consumption per capita, economic inequality (Gini index), and literacy [19].

variables in the data

Anxiety disorder prevalence, incidence, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were examined. The years of life lost to early death and the years spent with a handicap are combined to form DALY. The GBD Results tool was utilized to acquire data pertaining to anxiety disorders [20]. Data visualization was done using the GBD Compare tool [21]. Anxiety disorders are under the Mental Disorders category in GBD and are marked as B.6.4.

Data interpretation

Using GBD analytical methods, such as visualization, we examined the data [22]. The highest fidelity was attained with the use of these tools. The frequency and incidence of anxiety disorders were examined both in its raw and age-adjusted forms. aging-standardized rates eliminate the impact of population aging over time, across regions, and across national borders, allowing conclusions about inherent changes in the burden of anxiety disorders. The age at which anxiety disorders first manifested itself was assessed using age-specific incidence rates. By comparing data over the previous three decades, the scientists sought to determine whether the age of onset was declining over time.

Analytical statistics

Bivariate correlations, temporal trends, and summary statistics were examined in the data. Multiple linear regression was used for multivariate analysis. The variables’ multicollinearity and normality were examined. The statistical software Jamovi (version 1.8) was used to analyze the data [23]. No imputation was made for missing data. A statistical significance level of 0.05 was applied to the alpha level.



In 2019, anxiety disorders affected 4.05% of the world’s population [uncertainty interval (UI); 3.39, 4.78]. The prevalence of anxiety disorders in a few chosen nations and areas is shown in Table 1. Between 1990 and 2019, the global total number of affected individuals increased significantly, from 194.9 million to 301.4 million [UI; 252, 356 million]. In the world, there were 12,537 cases of mental health issues for per 100,000 people [UI; 11,643, 13,497]. 3,895 cases of anxiety disorders were reported for every 100,000 people [UI; 3,264, 4,601]. The prevalence of anxiety disorders was much higher than that of other major mental health problems. For example, there were 511 cases of bipolar disorder and 304 cases of schizophrenia per 100,000 people.

Table 1: Anxiety disorders’ burden

Anxiety disorders were more common in women than in men. The prevalence rate for women across all age groups was 4,862 per 100,000 [UI; 4,089, 5,746] whereas the rate for men was 2,933 per 100,000 [UI; 2,458, 3,482].

Around the world, anxiety disorders were more common in some areas than others. The highest rates were found in high-income areas of Western Europe and North America, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean (Fig. 1). When it came to the prevalence of anxiety disorders, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa came in last. Portugal (8,671 instances per 100,000 population), Brazil (7,993 cases per 100,000), Iran (7,537 cases), New Zealand (7,375 cases), Netherlands (7,205 cases), and Switzerland (7,144 cases per 100,000) had the greatest prevalence rates, in decreasing order. China (47.8 million instances), India (41.8 million), the United States (20.2 million), Brazil (17.3 million), and Indonesia (9.5 million) have the biggest global burden of people living with anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorder prevalence worldwide. Legend: In 2019, the colors represent the prevalence rates per 100,000 people (of all ages). The color shades show the range of anxiety disorder prevalence rates, from dark red (8,600 cases per 100,000) to orange, yellow, light blue, and dark blue hues (2,000 instances per 100,000), in decreasing order.


Globally, the prevalence, incidence, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) rates of anxiety disorders showed a consistent pattern between 1990 and 2019. In order to account for variations in the underlying population age structure, age-standardized rates were employed. The pace of increase in Western European nations was higher than the average for the world. Prevalence rates rose significantly in Brazil in particular, from 5,894 cases per 100,000 people in 1990 to 7,410 cases per 100,000 people in 2019. With the exception of Europe, every continent saw an increase in the overall number of cases as a result of aging populations. Incidence and prevalence rates seemed to hold steady during the same time following age standardization (to account for population aging) (Fig. 2). In light of this, it seemed that there was no inherent rise in the prevalence of anxiety disorders even after accounting for population aging.