The World's Most Common Mental Illness Might Not Be What You Think
While depression is perhaps the most notable and commonly recognized mental health-related illness, most will be surprised to learn that it is not the most common mental illness - As the World Economic Forum (WEForum) reports, “that unwanted accolade goes to anxiety.”
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent data, it is estimated that as many as 275 million people around the globe suffer from at least one type of anxiety-related disorder.
For those who are keeping score, that is roughly 4% of the entire globe’s population suffering from the same or similar type of mental illness. Among those suffering from anxiety, 170 million are female (62%) while males sufferers are estimated to be around 105 million.
The Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety, like depression, can affect different individuals in various ways. However, while no one sufferer’s experience is the same, there is a list of symptoms that are commonly associated with anxiety disorders. They are as follows:
Apprehensiveness: This type of anxiousness is characterized as worrying about one’s future, difficulty making decisions due to one feeling on “constant edge,” as well as difficulty with focusing, concentrating, or paying attention.
Motor Tension: An anxious-ridden person who experiences these types of symptoms may suffer from tension headaches, inability to become relaxed, and may be unable to sit still or refrain from fidgeting. Also, if severe enough, these types of symptoms can cause an afflicted individual to tremble.
Autonomic Overactivity: These types of anxiety symptoms are more physical than mental. They include sweating, increased heart rate, abnormally shallow or rapid breathing, abdomen pain, and dry mouth.
The Full Extent of Mental Health Disorders is Likely Much Higher Than Data Indicates
While the worldwide number of those suffering from mental health-related illnesses is enormous, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that these numbers are likely underestimated and under-recorded - especially among those living in developing countries. WHO also reports that even if a person is appropriately diagnosed with a mental health disorder, they are still fairly unlikely to receive treatment for their serious mental health condition.
World Health Organization reports,
"Health systems have not yet adequately responded to the burden of mental disorders. As a consequence, the gap between the need for treatment and its provision is wide all over the world. In low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. In high-income countries, between 35% and 50% of people with mental disorders are in the same situation."