Anxiety disorders are prevalent in every country around the world, affecting an estimated 18 percent of the adult population in the United States and approximately 10 percent in Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Although the numbers are smaller, chronic anxiety is common all non-western countries.
Chronic anxiety is often viewed not as a real mental health issue, but a character flaw or a sign of laziness, selfishness or weakness. All too often, people who need treatment are told to toughen up, or that they could stop worrying if they really wanted to.
In spite of the prevalence of anxiety disorders in our families, schools and communities, most people are unable to recognize the mentally crippling symptoms experienced by anxiety sufferers every single day.
Such a lack of understanding breeds stigma that prevents anxiety sufferers from seeking treatment or from discussing the problem with friends or family. Stigma and shame make it difficult for people to seek counseling that can help them break free of crippling anxiety. The isolation can be devastating.
If you aren’t sure how to recognize signs of anxiety in other people, there are a few common things to watch for.
People who suffer with anxiety may:
· be unable to stop worrying excessively, even when they realize the fear is irrational and has no basis in reason.
· constantly feel stressed and unable to relax.
· have difficulty concentrating.