How Common are Anxiety Disorders?

The CDC estimates that more than 8% of children and adolescents are diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

However, experts believe the number of children and adolescents who suffer from such disorders is closer to 20%. The number may be even higher, since many who suffer from anxiety and related disorders are misdiagnosed, and therefore receive inappropriate treatment, or worse, no treatment at all.

Almost all anxiety and related disorders can occur in children as young as 3-5 years.

Of the more than 20% of youth who develop anxiety problems, only a fraction receive treatment at all, and still fewer receive effective treatment.

Humans of every socioeconomic status and ethnic background worldwide have these disorders, at rates similar to those in the United States.

Why it’s important to identify anxiety problems early:

Waiting for an anxiety problem to go away on its own doesn’t usually work. Most children with anxiety problems who do not receive appropriate treatment get worse.

Untreated anxiety can markedly compromise the quality of life for children and their families and have a dramatic negative impact on psychosocial functioning and development.

Untreated anxiety is associated with mental health problems in adulthood, including depression and substance abuse.