It’s normal to worry. In fact, studies suggest that some stress could even be good for you. But when does worrying become worrisome?
A new study published in Depression and Anxiety suggests that 90 percent of people who suffer from anxiety or depression don’t receive proper treatment.
That’s a big deal, considering 1-in-10 people suffer from anxiety and of those only 9.8 percent receive the appropriate treatment.
It’s because most people don’t know that they need help. A little over 40 percent of people who suffer from anxiety or depression recognize a need for treatment, and when anxiety isn't combined with another disorder that number goes down to 26.3 percent.
Treatment for anxiety and depression is also expensive. One study suggests that the annual cost for treatment is more than $7,400, and that number goes up if anxiety is combined with depression or other symptoms of pain.
For some, there is also a perceived stigma that comes along with seeking mental health care. Three out of four people who suffer from mental illness report they are embarrassed or don’t want to be stereotyped, with feelings of shame, blame, and hopelessness.
Commissioned by the World Mental Health, the international study described the treatment gap in anxiety disorders at an international level for the first time. Researchers examined the adequacy of anxiety disorder treatment around the world from a sample of 51,500 individuals from 21 different countries.
In high-income countries, only one-third of anxiety disorders receive treatment, except in the US where care rates are higher. That number varies between countries; anxiety affects 5.3 percent of people in African countries, but that number almost doubles in European ones (10.4 percent).
Some disorders, like phobias or separation anxiety, begin earlier in life at the age of 5 to 10, whereas generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorders tend to appear between 24 and 50.
In 2010, anxiety and depression cost 30 European Union countries an estimated €74,400 million.
"Health literacy and awareness should be promoted in those countries where the need is not recognized, usually middle and/or low-income countries,” said researcher Jodi Alonso in a statement. “It is important to encourage healthcare providers to follow clinical guidelines to improve treatment quality when it comes to anxiety disorders.”
When should you seek help for anxiety or depression? Experts say as soon as it starts to affect aspects of your life such as physical health, work, relationships, drug, alcohol use, or quality of life.