Virtually every person experiences anxiety as a natural response to stress. You may have felt it before preparing for a big meeting, a social gathering, or an important exam. However, some people experience excessive anxiety that controls and impairs their daily lives.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 18% of American adults. Although there are many effective approaches to treating anxiety disorders, only 1/3 of those with anxiety disorders seek treatment.1
According to a study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the U.S. spends more than $42 billion a year treating anxiety disorders,1 more than half of which is spent on patients who repeatedly use general health care services to address anxiety symptoms that mimic physical illness. Increased awareness of anxiety disorders and its potentially far-reaching health effects could lead to a more efficient use of appropriate health care services. Additionally, if you are struggling with an anxiety disorder and another health condition, it is important to find treatment that effectively targets both disorders.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and certain phobias. The prevalence of anxiety disorders is often related to specific factors, such as:1,2,3
- Genetics and early life experiences: Your risk of developing an anxiety disorder may be higher depending on your genetics and certain environmental factors, including:
- Having a low income.
- Being divorced or widowed.
- Being exposed to stressful life events.
- Having a family history of mental disorders.
- Having elevated cortisol levels.
- Gender: Women are 60% more likely to experience an anxiety disorder compared to men.
People with anxiety are also more likely to experience or exhibit:1
- Concurrent depression: People with an anxiety disorder are more likely to suffer from depression; nearly half of people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.
- Frequent doctor visits: People with an anxiety disorder are 3 to 5 times more likely to visit their primary care physician and 6 times more likely to be hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder.
What Questions Should I Ask?
When calling an anxiety crisis hotline, you can ask any question you want. To get started, you might ask the call center specialist:
- How do I know if I have an anxiety disorder?
- Where can I go for an evaluation?
- Does my insurance cover treatment for an anxiety disorder?
- What can I expect in treatment?
- What types of therapies do they use when treating an anxiety disorder?
- What kind of stress-management techniques can help people with anxiety disorders?
- What types of medications are used in treatment?
- How can I talk to a doctor about available clinical trials or studies?
- How do I find a clinical trial near me?
If you have any other specific questions related to your mental health, physical health, or substance abuse issues you may be experiencing, be sure to ask the person on the helpline for more information.You should feel as if your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask again or even call back later.
If your loved one is battling an anxiety disorder, you can call a free anxiety helpline for support and answers. You may want to talk about what you’re going through and how to find help for your friend or family member. Other things you may ask include:
- How do I know if my loved one has an anxiety disorder?
- What are the next steps in helping my loved one get treatment for an anxiety disorder?
- Where can I find resources (support groups, information) for concerned loved ones?
Should I Call an Anxiety Hotline?
People with anxiety disorders often experience an excessive amount of anxiety or worry and display anxiety-related symptoms. If you are wondering whether you or a loved one has an anxiety disorder, take this short quiz to see if you might have an anxiety disorder:3*
- Are you easily fatigued?
- Do you feel a sense of restlessness, feeling wound-up or on edge about things?
- Is it hard for you to control your worry?
- Do you feel irritable?
- Do you have problems sleeping—falling asleep, staying asleep, or having an unsatisfying amount of sleep?
- Do you have trouble concentrating?
- Does your mind go blank?
- Do you have muscle tension?
If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you might have an anxiety disorder.
*The results of this quiz do not qualify as a medical diagnosis. This quiz is only intended to provide you with general information about whether or not to see a doctor. Please see a medical professional for a full examination if you think you may have an anxiety disorder.
If you are contemplating calling an anxiety hotline but you’re not sure that you are ready or if it’s the right time, just remember:
- You can always call a helpline, day or night.
- They are free and confidential.
- You can share as much information as you wish.
Mental Health Information
Anxiety is a broad mental health disease that affects every person differently. Whether or not you have received an official diagnosis for your disorder, there are excellent resources available online to help you better understand your mental health.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). If you are in a crisis or looking for mental health information, you can call NAMI’s helpline for free support. NAMI has programs designed specifically for those who identify as living with a mental health condition, caregivers, veterans, teens, and LGBTQ.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 800-662-HELP (4357). This national helpline is available 24/7 in English and Spanish for anyone facing a substance abuse or mental health disorder. You can call the helpline at any time to speak with a trained information specialist who can provide you with local resources and support.
- MentalHealth.gov: This website provides information about mental health disorders and how to get help. There are a number of helplines listed on the page, and you can enter your zip code to find mental health services in your state or zip code.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): This is an excellent and reliable resource to learn more about anxiety disorders. You can read about signs and symptoms, what treatment and therapies are commonly used in treatment, and much more.
Anxiety helplines are staffed by qualified support representatives who can help answer your questions about mental health issues. If you want to know what the symptoms of an anxiety disorder are, your treatment options for anxiety, or how to find local support groups and anxiety services, you can always call a helpline.
If this is a medical emergency or you are having any suicidal thoughts, call 911.
These helplines are a good resource when your anxiety has reached an overwhelming point and you need someone to talk to:
- Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741. When you text this helpline, you’ll be connected to trained counselors for individualized support.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can reach out any time for free and confidential support.
- Mental Health America: This website offers anxiety screening tests that you can take, as well as a way for you to contact the program and speak to someone.
1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Facts and Statistics.
2. National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults.
3. National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Anxiety Disorders.