Anxiety should be given more attention in mental health research, says a global review of the disorder, because it is more prevalent than thought and women, young people under 35 and those with health problems were particularly affected.
Scientists from the University of estimated that four out of every 100 people are affected by anxiety, according to the BBC.
But the review said more research was needed to find out which other communities were at greatest risk.
Published in the journal Brain and Behavior, the global review of 48 studies found that more than 60 million people were affected by anxiety disorders every year in the EU. North America is thought to be worst affected, with eight in 100 people having anxiety, and East Asia least affected (three in 100).
Stephen Buckley, head of information at mental health charity Mind, said anxiety was one of the most common mental health problems in the UK.
“Many people wait too long before seeing their GP, discounting social anxiety as just day-to-day stress. But it’s not the same as being ‘a bit shy’ and it’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you feel like your anxiety is interfering with your ability to do the things you normally would,” he said.
Although the proportion of people suffering with this mental health problem stayed fairly constant between 1990 and 2010, the authors said it was a problem which was rarely researched, unlike depression.
Review author Olivia Remes, from the department of public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge, said anxiety disorders could make life extremely difficult.
“There has been a lot of focus on depression – which is important – but anxiety is equally important and debilitating; it can lead to the development of other diseases and psychiatric disorders, increase the risk for suicide and is associated with high costs to society.”
Globally, women were found to be twice as likely to experience anxiety as men.
There are many ways to deal with anxiety, from medication to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says a qualified therapist can help assess an anxiety, identifying its root – whether this is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.
Treating anxiety with clinical hypnotherapy is one of hypnotherapy’s successes as anxiety is often rooted in a previous experience that triggered fear or in a general anxiety and worry about a situation at home or at work.
“There can also be anxiety without knowing what is causing it, a general feeling of anxiety known as ‘free floating’ anxiety,” the NCH adds.
The therapist will use hypnotherapy to tap into the subconscious mind and unlock the potential that is there to allow the anxious person to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to ‘stressful’ or ‘anxiety-causing’ situations.
“People can suffer from a wide variety of distressing feelings such as panic attacks, anxiety, jealousy, guilt, anger or inadequacy,” adds the NCH. “Whatever the problem feeling, hypnotherapy can deal with it more specifically than a drug can – and without harmful side effects.”
This article is by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, it was published in June 2016, for more articles about hypnotherapy please visit the news section on www.hypnotherapists.org.uk