Arrow pointing right
Back to articles

61 important anxiety facts and statistics you need to know

Everything you need to know about types of anxiety disorders, their impact on your team, their business cost, and effective measures to support your employees

In this article
What are the types of anxiety disorders?UK statistics on anxiety disordersUS workplace anxiety statisticsHow to support employees or colleagues with anxiety

Spill therapy reduces symptoms of employee anxiety by 74% in six weeks.

Check our prices

Anxiety, or being anxious, is a natural response to stress, and it affects people both psychologically and physiologically. As well as being triggered by tangible stressors, anxiety can also be brought about by an unknown future ‘threat’ of some kind. 

With the definitive shift to hybrid working, a spike in redundancies and an economic recession, our work environments have begun to feel increasingly ungrounded. For anybody with an anxiety disorder, these uncertainties can manifest as debilitating symptoms, which in aggregate means a massive impact (both personal and performance-related) on your workforce.

But before you can tackle the problem head on and provide your employees with the right resources and practical working adjustments, it’s important to fully understand workplace anxiety. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of data and statistics on anxiety disorders, their impact on the workforce and business, and some recommendations on what you can do to better support your employees.

What are the types of anxiety disorders?

Although we tend to generalise ‘anxiety’ when we talk about it, there are several types of anxiety disorders with different presentations and symptoms:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The NHS defines GAD as ‘a long-term condition that can make you feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.’ [1]

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is a condition where you have recurring, regular panic attacks. These are not situational, they often happen for no apparent reason. [2]

Obsessive compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. [3]

Social Phobia

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. [4]

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. [5]

Although it is no longer classified as an anxiety disorder, its symptoms include severe anxiety. 

General statistics on anxiety disorders 

  • It’s estimated that 264 million adults in the world have anxiety. Of these, around 63% are female. [6,7]
  • The UK has the 62nd highest rate of anxiety disorders in the world, with New Zealand coming first. [8
  • 1 in 3 (35%) employees in the UK suffer from moderate to severe depression or severe anxiety. [9]
  • Around 8 million people in the UK have some form of an anxiety disorder, while 58% of employees experience at least mild symptoms of anxiety. [10,11]
  • Anxiety disorders can be treated easily, but only around 37% of those suffering get any  treatment. [12]

Only 1 in 4 people disclose their anxiety disorder to their employer. 38% are worried their boss will think it’s an excuse to get out of work. [13]

  • In 2019, anxiety disorders in the UK had a rate of around 424 DALYs (disability-adjusted life years, which measure the number of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death per 100,000 people), while in the US this figure was 533 DALYs. [14]

    To put that in context, the disease burden of anxiety disorders alone are a third of the disease burden for all injuries (including violence, conflict and self-harm) which was around 1575 DALYs in 2019. [15]
Submit document logo

Download our anxiety return-to-work checklist

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything in place for an employee returning to work after taking time off for anxiety or poor mental health

UK statistics on anxiety disorders

Causes of work anxiety

  • Work stress and anxiety are connected, with one compounding the other. [16]

Around 55% of people experience anxiety as a direct result of work stress. [16]

  • 42% of employees say they suffer from heavy workloads, which makes them anxious to go back to work after the weekend. [17]
  • 1 in 3 employees working in sales, media, or marketing say that being underpaid causes them anxiety, while 1 in 4 blame a toxic work environment. [17]
  • 71% of managers say their teams are anxious because of financial stress caused by the cost of living crisis. [18]

Impact of anxiety on employees

A huge consequence of anxiety is blurred work-life boundaries because of the inability to disconnect from work and intrusive thoughts.

  • The 4 most common effects of work anxiety are reported as [17]:
  • Feeling tired
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased irritability
  • Depressive mood

  • On average, it takes almost 2 hours (1 hour, 49 minutes) to shut off from work on a Friday night. [17]
  • 2 in 3 (67%) people feel like their weekends are cut short because they feel anxious about the coming work week. [17]
  • 1 in 6 people struggle to be social over the weekend because of work anxiety. [16]
  • 10% of people feel like their personal relationships with family and friends are negatively affected by anxiety. [17]
  • 4 in 5 people get a bad night’s sleep on Sunday before the work week begins. [17]

Alarmingly, you can literally worry yourself to death. Studies show that anxiety can spike cortisol, a hormone that is secreted when someone has a fight-or-flight response. If our body experiences this in a chronic way, it can lower our immune systems, spike blood pressure, and cause other health conditions, leading to a lower lifespan. [19]

The business cost of workplace anxiety in the UK

Around 17.9 million work days were lost to workplace anxiety and stress in 2019-2020. [20]

  • Around 822,000 employees are affected by work-related stress, depression or anxiety every year. [20]
  • In 2021/22 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for over half (51%) of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost because of work-related ill health. [20]
  • Three in ten (30%) employees say feeling anxious or stressed because of high workloads and pressure to perform regularly impacts their productivity at work. [21]

Statistics on generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

There’s a myth that because it’s ‘generalised’, GAD isn’t really that bad, but this isn’t the case. GAD can be debilitating to live with, especially when untreated. It might also present physical symptoms like a racing heart, restlessness, and fatigue, which can be disruptive to someone’s ability to work effectively. 

  • In any given week in England, 6 in 100 people are living with a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) diagnosis. [22]
  • Around 1 in 10 people are diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Less than half access treatment. [23,24]
  • According to the NHS, GAD affects more men than women, and the condition is more common in people from the ages of 35 to 55. [25] 

Statistics on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

People often mistake intrusive thoughts for OCD. While intrusive thoughts (an umbrella term for unwelcome thoughts that crowd your brain) are unpleasant and disruptive, they’re not a condition by themselves.

On the other hand, OCD is a chronic condition. When someone struggling with OCD has intrusive thoughts, they have an urge to do verbal or physical tasks to cope with how these thoughts make them feel. Intrusive thoughts are common, but people with OCD respond to them and process them differently.

  • Around 94% of people think they have experienced intrusive thoughts at some point. [26]
  • Around 750,000 people in the UK live with OCD. [26]
  • People with OCD see 3 to 4 doctors and can spend around 9 years seeking treatment before they receive a correct diagnosis. [27]
  • People with OCD lose 46 working days per year to the condition, on average. This could be because intrusive thoughts make it difficult to concentrate, or compulsive behaviours affect productivity at work. [28]

Statistics on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Popular culture leads us to believe that mostly military personnel suffer from PTSD, with the term being connected to the aftermath of war. But PTSD can be caused by any form of trauma including emotional abuse, domestic conflict, or threatening behaviours of any kind. PTSD doesn’t always develop immediately after the traumatic event, sometimes it can take months or years for symptoms to present.

  • Around 1 in 2 people will experience a trauma at some point in their life. Around 20% of them will go on to develop PTSD. That’s around 10% of the population. [29]
  • 4 in 100 people in the UK are expected to have PTSD at any given time. This is around 2.6 million people in the UK. [29]
  • Shockingly, up to 70% of people with PTSD in the UK do not receive any professional help. [30]
  • Women aged 16-24 are most likely to screen positive for PTSD. [31]
  • 78% of people diagnosed with PTSD will also be diagnosed with another mental disorder in their lifetime. This could be depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. [32]

Statistics on other anxiety disorders

UK anxiety statistics by identity

  • 48% of Gen Zs and 44% of millennials feel anxious or stressed all or most of the time. These groups rank mental wellbeing as their first or second priority in life. Addressing the causes of anxiety in the workplace is vital for companies to retain their younger workforce. [35]
  • Employees aged 25-34 are most prone to workplace anxiety. 34% of employees experiencing anxiety belong to this age-group. [36]
  • Employees aged 35- 44 were the second most affected group with around 26% of those experiencing symptoms of anxiety belonging to this group. [36]
  • 62% of employees experiencing anxiety are female. Women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men. They are also more likely to struggle with more than one anxiety disorder at the same time. [8,19,36]

UK anxiety statistics by industry

A survey showed that people working in HR are the most stressed (75%) [16].

This was followed by [16]:

  • Finance: 73%
  • Travel and Ttransport: 73%
  • Arts and Cculture: 54%

  • 52% of employees in the tech industry admit to suffering from stress, anxiety and depression at work. [37]
  • Half of marcoms professionals (covering PR, marketing and comms) suffered severe stress, anxiety or burnout in 2021. [38,39]
  • 52% of employees in the finance industry said their mental health suffered during the pandemic, reporting suffering from anxiety and insomnia. [40,41]

Spill therapy reduces symptoms of employee anxiety by 74% in six weeks.

See how Spill works

US workplace anxiety statistics

Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the U.S, affecting around 40 million adults. Around 31% of all adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. [7, 42]

  • Research indicates that 75% of U.S. employees have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent world events. [43]
  • The most common causes of stress and anxiety in the average US workplace are [44]:
  • Deadlines (55%)
  • Interpersonal relationships (53%)
  • Staff management (50%)
  • Conflict resolution (49%)

More facts on Anxiety Disorders

  • Anxiety can be genetic. Research shows that certain genes, when inherited, can cause GAD or Generalised Anxiety Disorder. [45,46]
  • Anxiety often exists with other mental health issues. For example, up to 70% of patients with anxiety disorders can also have symptoms of depression. [47]
  • Covid raised levels of anxiety on a global scale. According to the WHO, there was a 25% increase in cases of anxiety and depression across the world during the first year of the pandemic. [48]
  • While many of us develop mental health issues as adults, they can also start in childhood. The CDC says that around 7% of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis. [49]
  • Breaking out in sweats or difficulty breathing are textbook symptoms of anxiety. But anxiety can also alter your sense of smell, cause cold hands and feet, and memory lapses. [50,51,52]

How to support employees or colleagues with anxiety

The first step to supporting someone at work who is struggling with anxiety is to have a frank and open conversation around their needs. There’s no one-measure-fits-all approach, and each person will have different needs, so asking what suits them best will go a long way.

Once you have a clear idea about what support your employee needs, you can implement a few quick low-cost measures to help them feel more comfortable at work including:

  • Offering flexible working
  • Avoiding ‘mystery meetings’
  • Communicate any changes to workload clearly
  • Arranging personal check-ins
  • Respecting boundaries 

The most impactful way to support an anxious employee is to signpost them to an appropriate mental health resource. Therapy is highly effective at treating anxiety, teaching people to recognise warning signs, increase resilience through coping strategies and change their relationship with negative thoughts. 

Spill's mental health detection system proactively checks in on your team's mood every week to spot early signs of stress or anxiety, and a qualified therapist will reach out automatically to anyone who's feeling low. A course of Spill therapy is shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety by 74%.

More anxiety resources

For a closer look at how to support an employee with anxiety, check out our anxiety resources for employers 👇

Submit document logo

Download our anxiety return-to-work checklist

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything in place for an employee returning to work after taking time off for anxiety or poor mental health

See how much it would cost to get Spill mental health support for your team, and reduce symptoms of low mood, anxiety and other forms of poor mental health.

Compare pricing plans