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10 Need-to-Know Social Anxiety Statistics

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When it comes to defining anxiety in today’s world, there are multiple ways of going about the process. You could say that, as far as normal human emotions go, stress includes feelings like apprehension, tension, fear, or worry about an impending event or occurrence (situation). Be it to a greater or lesser extent, it is safe to say that every human being experiences anxiety.

As unpleasant and uncomfortable as it may be, the feeling of dread is usually not a lasting one. On the other hand, stress can grow to become debilitating if it persists on an extreme level over a prolonged period. Social anxiety statistics, in particular, indicate that the problem is much more widespread and worrisome than anyone thought. 

Cases of such extreme and long-lasting anxiety are, in fact, anxiety disorders. Among examples of such disorders are social anxiety disorder, but also phobias, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. 

There are symptoms of such disorders that signal the existence of any one or more of the previously mentioned conditions. These include dizziness, nausea, difficulty sleeping, rapid breathing, an increase in heart rate, as well as panic and fear. 

Social anxiety disorder statistics reveal that anxiety today represents one of the most common mental health disorders on the planet. We’ve compiled the following list of such statistics to provide a clear and up-to-date insight into the current state of things. Let’s dig in.

Social Anxiety Statistics Overview (Editor’s Pick)

  • Only 9% of people over the age of 60 struggle with social anxiety. In contrast, 31.4% of youth between the ages of 13 and 14 suffer the same problem.
  • In comparison to people who do not suffer from anxiety disorders, those who do are six times more likely to end up in the hospital for psychiatric disorders, as well as three to five times more likely to visit a doctor.
  • Only around a third (36.9%) of those suffering from social anxiety disorder ever receive adequate counseling or treatment, even though anxiety disorders, in general, are highly treatable.
  • With a 12-month prevalence rate of 6.8%, social anxiety is officially the third most common mental disorder in the US, according to the US National Comorbidity Survey.
  • Typically, social anxiety disorder begins developing and taking effect around the age of 13, though it can develop at virtually any age.
  • The development of social anxiety disorder occurs due to numerous causes, and factors like the environment, genetics, and behavior learned from parents also add to the mix.
  • Studies show that medication, such as antidepressants, successfully help only 15% of socially-anxious people.

Social Anxiety Disorder Statistics in Detail

1. According to reports, no less than 6.8% of the US population suffers from some form of social anxiety.

(Psycom)

The statistics on social anxiety indicate that the number of US citizens with this disorder is at an all-time high. A recent report from Psycom shows that no less than 15 million adults in America have some form of issues deriving from social anxiety. 

Additionally, women comprise the vast majority of those who have this mental disorder, though the causes for such gender disparity remain unknown. One thing is sure, though; more and more teens and adults are falling prey to various forms of social anxiety by the day.

2. Studies show that medication, such as antidepressants, successfully help only 15% of socially anxious people. 

(Social Phobia)

Regardless of whether it’s short-term or long-term usage, the vast majority of patients and people struggling with social anxiety see no improvement whatsoever from medication. Even the so-called best medications for social anxiety put forward through massive advertising campaigns turned out to be a hoax. 

Namely, questioning both these medications and the studies that reportedly find them so helpful leads back to the same pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the medicines in the first place. Since the studies represent a conflict of interest, their conclusions are inadmissible and highly questionable. 

Therefore, you should not put your faith in any large-scale medications.

3. In comparison to medications, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helped 85% of participants of a study to recover and improve their well-being drastically.

(Psycom)

Before you go into CBT, the most important thing to keep in mind is that every single person out there is different. When it comes to both medications and social anxiety, there is no universal rule that works ten times out of ten. 

When looking at treatment for social anxiety disorder, there’s a particular reason why CBT works so well. Physiologically speaking, only CBT has long-lasting effects when it comes to changing the neural pathway associations in the brain. Changing these pathways in the first place is what causes social anxiety, among other things, which is why CBT attacks the problem at its root.

While some medications can help in this regard (in around 15% of the cases, as previously mentioned), CBT is the definitive way to go for anyone struggling with this issue.

4. Typically, social anxiety disorder begins developing and taking effect around the age of 13, though complications can develop at virtually any age.

(HuffPost)

Though social anxiety can manifest in various forms and at different times, social anxiety disorder stats reveal that adolescence is the most critical period of a person’s life. Any sort of vulnerable time of transition represents fertile soil for this type of mental health disorder. 

Some of the most frequent examples include when young adults and teenagers prepare for college or high school. Once again, the most critical thing to keep in mind when it comes to this disorder is to react immediately to even the earliest of social anxiety symptoms

Choosing to ignore even the smallest of signs of this severe problem can only lead to more significant issues down the road.  

5. During their lifetime, at least one other psychiatric disorder will plague four out of every five adults that suffer from a social anxiety disorder.

(Unlocking Potential)

You’ve probably heard the saying “evil often comes in pairs” at some point. The saying is particularly true in the case of social anxiety, as the disorder rarely appears without another similar issue (commonly known as a “comorbid” condition). 

Among the more interesting facts about social anxiety disorder is that the problem often comes hand in hand with various other conditions. Examples of such conditions include major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, substance use, as well as nicotine dependence. 

In up to 80% of the cases, one or more of the previously mentioned comorbid conditions develop subsequently, adding further to the difficulty of the existing situation. 

6. Development of social anxiety disorder occurs due to numerous causes, though factors like the environment, genetics, and behavior learned from parents also add to the mix.

(Evolve Treatment)

When attempting to understand a disorder as complex and widespread as social anxiety, it can be tempting to over-simplify the process. Logically, a problem that manifests slightly differently in each person likely does not have a single cause. 

Countless studies have tried uncovering what’s causing such a problem for people in the hopes of solving it. There’s no denying that the effects of social anxiety disorder are immeasurable, further adding to the severity of the problem. 

However, studies indicate that the causes of the dysfunction are incredibly complicated and much more far-reaching than initially thought. These findings suggest that the issue is highly severe regardless of how simple or harmless it may seem at first.

7. With a 12-month prevalence rate of 6.8%, social anxiety is officially the third most common mental disorder in the US, according to the US National Comorbidity Survey.

(Addiction Hope)

The prevalence of social anxiety disorder has taken on very significant proportions. Even though many remain skeptical when it comes to the seriousness of this widespread issue, there is no denying the cold, hard facts.

Whether one wants to admit it or not, social anxiety can prevent a person from living to their fullest potential, caging the sufferer in fear. Because social anxiety is such a delicate mental health condition, learning more about it through studies, statistics, and by other means can have positive consequences. 

For instance, not only does knowing more about social anxiety help better understand those suffering from it, but it also helps raise awareness and improve the outcomes of treatments.

8. Only around a third (36.9%) of those suffering from social anxiety disorder ever receive adequate counseling or treatment, even though anxiety disorders, in general, are highly treatable.

(Do Something)

When it comes to social anxiety treatment, there’s a slight paradox that we must note. On the one hand, modern medicine has a more than adequate cure for such a widespread issue in the form of CBT. On the other, a surprisingly low number of people suffering from social anxiety are going out and getting treatments to help their well-being. 

The reasons for such a disparity are numerous, though social stigma tends to be among the most frequent ones. By definition, social anxiety drives people to shy away from human contact and interaction (typical examples of social anxiety coping mechanisms). Therefore, actively seeking out help goes against the instinct of a person battling this problem. 

Regardless, spreading awareness about the seriousness of this mental disorder and many others like it will go a long way in encouraging people to go out and look for help.

9. In comparison to people who do not suffer from anxiety disorders, those who do are six times more likely to end up in the hospital for psychiatric disorders, as well as three to five times more likely to visit a doctor.

(Adaa)

As far as statistics about social anxiety go, it is evident that there is much more to this mental health disorder than meets the eye. The biggest problem with any disease, in general, is its interconnection with various other issues in the human body and mind. Social anxiety is no exception, with a significant amount of people suffering from it as an underlying condition. 

In other words, social anxiety tends to worsen other diseases in the organism, thereby increasing the odds of a person suffering much more significant and diverse forms of damage to their mind and body. Once again, noticing any social anxiety disorder symptoms is a sure sign that you must react immediately.

10. Only 9% of people over the age of 60 struggle with social anxiety. In contrast, 31.4% of youth between the ages of 13 and 14 suffer the same problem.

(The Recovery Village)

How common is social anxiety? According to a report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 19.1% of adults suffered from an anxiety disorder throughout 12 months. At the same time, 31.1% of adults suffer from anxiety at least once in their lifetime. 

Age is a particularly exciting factor to observe, as anxiety rates vary in different age categories. When it comes to people between the ages of 18 and 29 (in other words, an example of social anxiety in college students statistics), 22.3% suffer from at least one anxiety disorder.

At the same time, the percentage of people between 30 and 44 years of age who have experience with social anxiety amounts to 22.7%. Additionally, only 20.6% of individuals between the ages of 45 and 59 suffer the same problem. 

The situation with adolescents is quite different, with 32.3% of teens between the ages of 17 and 18 having social anxiety. Additionally, 32.1% of teens between 15 and 16 years old also have the same mental health disorder.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is social anxiety in the US?

When talking about the current state of those struggling with social anxiety in the world today, a worryingly high number of US citizens is among them. The statistics on social anxiety indicate that the number is at an all-time high. 

A recent report from Psycom shows that no less than 15 million adults in America have some form of issues deriving from social anxiety. Additionally, women comprise the vast majority of those who have this mental disorder, though the causes for such gender disparity remain unknown. 

One thing is sure – social anxiety facts show that more and more teens and adults are falling prey to various forms of this mental health disorder by the day.

What triggers social anxiety?

When looking at social anxiety causes and triggers, it’s essential to understand that these triggers may be different from one person to another. There are a plethora of situations that cause varying degrees of distress to a person with social anxiety. For example, experiencing critique or teasing, unexpectedly meeting other people, and even becoming the center of attention for whatever reason. 

Additionally, having someone observe or watch them while they act is also a trigger. Other triggers include being in a situation where people expect you to speak in a public or formal event, as well as coming into contact with authority figures and influential people. 

Moreover, being in social situations where you feel out of place and insecure can also trigger anxiety, just like meeting other people’s eyes, easily embarrassing, and even making phone calls/talking/writing/swallowing when in public. 

Note that all of these examples can make it extremely difficult to perform daily tasks, including finding a job with social anxiety (which, for many, is an impossible task). Therefore, the question of how to deal with social anxiety represents the quintessential issue they deal with daily.

Who is most affected by social anxiety disorder?

There are different ways to answer this question. While it’s true that comparing the difference in various age groups can provide ample insight into the matter, there are many other ways to explain just how many people have social anxiety

For example, over the course of 12 months, an anxiety disorder struck 19.1% of adults, courtesy of a report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Additional conclusions we’re able to draw from the same report reveal that, over the course of their lifetime, 31.1% of adults suffer from anxiety at least once. Furthermore, different age categories allow us to observe the interesting difference in anxiety disorders depending on age. At least one anxiety disorder plagues 22.3% of people between the ages of 18 and 29. 

But it doesn’t end there – 22.7% of people between 33 and 40 years of age have had at least one experience with an anxiety episode. The same problem, however, persists with just 20.6% of those between 45 and 59 years of age. 

On the other end of the spectrum, social anxiety affects around a third of adolescents between the ages of 17 and 18 (32.3%, to be precise). 

The situation, unfortunately, doesn’t improve in 15- and 16-year olds, either. Around 32.1% of youth within this age group suffer the consequences and effects of the same mental health disorder. No matter how you look at it, it’s clear that the younger a person is, the more at risk they are from any type of mental health disorders, including, but not limited to, social anxiety and depression.

How is social anxiety disorder diagnosed?

While there are numerous criteria for determining whether a person has social anxiety, there are ones that require regular examination. The very first thing your doctor will try to decide is whether you have social anxiety disorder along with other mental or physical health disorders, or if maybe other conditions may be causing your anxiety.

In doing so, your physician may determine a diagnosis according to any or all of the following factors (some of which we’ve covered in the previous social anxiety statistics).

He may begin with a simple discussion of your general symptoms, asking questions like what type of situations they appear in, as well as how often. Your doctor may also conduct a physical exam to understand better if your symptoms of anxiety may be the result of any medication or medical condition.

He may also ask you to fill out a self-report questionnaire detailing your social anxiety symptoms. At the same time, he may go through a list of situations with you to assess whether they trigger your anxiety. 

Most typically, however, your physician will, at some point, check the criteria listed in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), courtesy of the American Psychiatric Association.

Conclusion

Today, the single biggest problem when it comes to overcoming social anxiety is the lack of knowledgeable and professional therapists. As you’ve been able to see from the previously mentioned social anxiety statistics, this mental health disorder is all but running rampant in virtually all corners of the world, and the US is no exception. 

For people suffering such a persistent anxiety disorder, it is complicated to overcome social anxiety due to one simple reason – there is a massive lack of treatment facilities that specialize in solving such mental health disorders. 

As a result of a vast amount of research and clinical evidence, there is a cure for this mental illness. We hope you are now able to gain a better understanding and increase your level of awareness of this problem. 

Questions like “what is social anxiety disorder,” “types of social anxiety,” “history of social anxiety disorder,” as well as “social anxiety medication” are just some we tried to provide an insight into in this text. 

Always keep one thing in mind – social anxiety is no joke, and the second you notice anyone you know showing any signs of this problem, it is vital to act immediately and provide all the help you can. Only through a timely reaction to early symptoms can you help your friends and family lead a better, more fulfilled, and healthier life. Good luck! 

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