Americans reported sharp increases in anxiety levels today than a year ago, according to a new poll published by the American Psychiatric Association.
The APA asked the American public to rate their anxiety in areas of health, safety, finances, relationships, and politics. Overall, anxiety levels in the country jumped five points, and the increases in scores are seen across age and ethnic groups.
The APA sampled 1,004 adults during the poll conducted from March 22 to 25 compared to a similar survey of 1,019 adults nearly a year ago.
Millennials remain more anxious than those from Generation X, who are born anytime between 1965 and 1980. Post-war baby boomers, born anytime between 1946 and 1964, have the highest increase in anxiety compared to other generations with a seven-point jump from 2017 to 2018.
Paying The Bills And Gender Gap
Of the five categories, Americans have the greatest anxiety in paying bills. Nearly 75 percent of female respondents and almost 75 percent of young adults said they worry about paying their bills. Nearly four in five Hispanic adults said they are "somewhat" or "extremely anxious" about the same reason.
"This poll shows U.S. adults are increasingly anxious particularly about health, safety, and finances. That increased stress and anxiety can significantly impact many aspects of people's lives, including their mental health, and it can affect families," said APA President Dr. Anita Everett.
Everett explained that the survey highlights the need to reduce stressors through regular exercise, relaxation, balanced diet, and healthy relationships with friends and families.
Women aged 18 to 49 years old are more anxious than men of the same age at 57 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Older Americans aged 50 and up also reported the same outcome at 39 percent and 24 percent for women and men, respectively.
Anxiety And Mental Health
The poll also looked at the respondents' attitudes and perceptions on mental health and treatment. Majority of the participants (86 percent) believe that mental health can influence a person's physical health — a 6-percent increase from 2017's score of 80 percent.
About half of Americans said there is less stigma now on people with mental illnesses than there was 10 years ago. Three-quarters of the respondents believe that untreated mental diseases have a significant impact on the U.S. economy. Others said they will not vote for a candidate who has been diagnosed with a mental disease, even if the person has been treated.
"Our behavior has made us more anxious. We've become more polarized, people are more vocal about their complaints, and we've grown less civilized in how we care for one another. So we could blame this on certain people, but mental health is all about taking ownership," said Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City.