Prevalence of anxiety disorders
Social anxiety disorder
The lifetime prevalence of social anxiety disorder is estimated to be around 12% of adults. It is equally common between men and women.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Estimates of lifetime prevalence vary, but approximately 6% of adults will have GAD at some point in their life. GAD is more common in women than men and often occurs in relatives of affected persons.
The lifetime prevalence of panic disorder is approximately 5%. Panic disorder is twice as common in women as in men. It can appear at any age, but most often begins in young adulthood. Not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder; many people have only one attack in their lifetimes.
Specific phobias strike more than 1 in 10 people and are slightly more prevalent in women. The incidence of phobia is between eight and 10%.
OCD strikes men and women in approximately equal numbers and afflicts one to three percent of people. It can appear in childhood, adolescence or adulthood, but on average it first shows up in the teens or early adulthood. A third of adults with OCD experienced their first symptoms as children.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood.
Reviewed by Dr Stefanie van Vuuren, MB ChB (Stell), M Med (Psig) (Stell), FC (Psych)SA, Psychiatrist in private practice, Cape Town. February 2015.
Previously reviewed by Dr Soraya Seedat, psychiatrist and co-director, MRC Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders.