The Prevalence of Undiagnosed Anxiety: A National Survey
Ocala Regional Medical Center
GAD, generalized anxiety disorder
Emergency Medicine | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry and Psychology
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic condition characterized by excessive, unrealistic worry and anxiety about multiple events or activities and leads to significant impairment in daily functioning and quality of life. Effective treatments for GAD exist, but the first step is identification of the disorder. The current study aims to document the frequency of GAD symptoms amongst the general US population.
A web-based survey was conducted to assess the frequency of daily anxiety symptoms amongst adults residing in the United States. Questions from the GAD-7 were used to be able to quantify the burden of diagnosed and undiagnosed generalized anxiety disorder. JMP 16.0 for Mac OS was used to perform statistical analyses. Institutional Board Review gave the study an exempt determination (#2022–569).
The median GAD-7 score was 16 (IQR 12–19) with a range from to 7 to 28. GAD-7 scores stratified by diagnosed (median=14) vs. undiagnosed (median =18) demonstrated a significant difference (P<0.0001) with a robust goodness-of-fit coefficient (R2= 14.3%).Persons who were retired (p = 0.0262) or older (p = 0.0356) were significantly less likely to experience GAD symptoms. Conversely, sex, age, income and the use of depressants, stimulants or benzodiazepines were not significantly correlated with a GAD score of ≥15.
The present findings are based on cross-sectional survey data.
This study suggests that more than 50% experience symptoms concerning for GAD, without a formal diagnosis. The relevance of this research is it underscores the importance of mental health outreach, and removal of stigma surrounding mental health.
Publisher or Conference
Journal of Affective Disorders Reports
Momin A, Rodrigues K, Stead T, Mangal R, Ganti L. The prevalence of undiagnosed anxiety: A national survey. J Affect Disord Rep. 2023;13():100584. doi: 10.1016/j.jadr.2023.100584