SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 6 Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives. About one-third report persistent stress or excessive anxiety daily or that they have had an anxiety or panic attack. Seven out of ten of those adults say they have trouble sleeping.
These are among the findings of the 2007 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, a report examining the effects of anxiety disorders and everyday stress and anxiety on sleep. The survey was commissioned by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), which is sponsoring National Stress Out Week, November 11-17, 2007. ADAA encourages people to take time to de-stress and to discover the differences between everyday stress and an anxiety disorder.
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life, but anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S. -- and they are on the increase. They are identified as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
"Undiagnosed and untreated anxiety disorders can adversely affect people's lives in many areas, including their sleep," says Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, president and CEO of ADAA. "The good news is that they are highly treatable. Our hope is that National Stress Out Week will raise awareness of the signs, symptoms, and treatment options."
General Stress or Anxiety Interferes With Lives
Adults who are most likely to report daily stress or anxiety are under age 55, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 24 (91 percent), those who have children (81 percent), and those who are employed (73 percent).
Of those who experience daily stress or anxiety, 48 percent say it interferes with their lives every day (up from 39 percent in 2005), and women are much more likely than men (56 percent vs. 39 percent). Stress significantly interferes on a daily basis in two areas: relationships with family and friends (85 percent) and sleep (76 percent).
Women and men use different activities to ease general stress or anxiety:
Persistent Stress or Excessive Anxiety Impairs Functioning Every Day
More than one-fourth of adults reported that persistent stress or excessive anxiety has impaired their ability to function in the past six months. Eight out of ten say those feelings last several days or more. About one-quarter of adults say it makes it difficult for them to lead a normal life. The incidence of stress severely affecting lives has increased to 23 percent, a significant jump from 13 percent in 2005.
Adults use a variety of activities to cope with persistent stress or excessive anxiety:
Stress and Sleep Problems
The majority of adults with a stress-induced sleep problem experience it at least once per week, and more than half experience it at least several times a week.
Three-fourths of adults whose sleep is affected by stress or anxiety say that their sleep problems have also increased their stress and anxiety: 54 percent say that stress or anxiety increased their anxiety about falling asleep at night, and 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women reported it affected their ability to remain focused the next day.
Sleep Habits of Adults
Sixty-one percent of adults report getting seven hours of sleep at least four nights a week, which is down from the 67 percent reported in 2005. Among other findings:
-- On average, adults sleep 6.6 hours each night.
-- Eight out of ten adults have experienced some type of sleep-related difficulty. Women are significantly more li