New data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that depression and anxiety levels amongst those living in the UK are rising.
The report carried out by the ONS has also found that overall satisfaction with our health – including mental health - is on the decline. In 2012, 46.4% of those who were surveyed said that they were mostly or completely satisfied with their health. Between 2013 and 2014 however, this had gone down to 44.6%.
Furthermore, it also appears as though an increasing number of Brits are suffering from mental health problems. In 2012, 18.3% of people said they had experienced anxiety or depression whereas the latest figures show that this has now gone up to 19.7%.
Talking about what could be causing more and more people to suffer from feelings of extreme stress or sadness, Rosi Prescott, chief executive of Central YMCA commented:
“Work and education pressures, isolation as a result of the rise of ‘always on’ social networking and financial pressures such as a consequence of growing financial inequality and rising tuition fees are all likely to have contributed to these rising figures.”
Speaking about what should happen next, Prescott continued:
“The wellbeing of our nation’s individuals should be our number one priority before we fall even further behind neighbouring countries like Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, who outstrip us in this regard.”
Highlighting the importance of understanding why or how someone might start to suffer from anxiety or depression, Nia Charpentier from Rethink Mental Illness commented:
“It’s important to acknowledge that there is no single cause for these conditions but factors such as lifestyle, stressful events like financial difficulties or a relationship breakdown could increase the likelihood of someone having problems with their mental health.”
Although there has been an increase in the number of people who are suffering from depression or anxiety, the report did show that there has been some good news too. It was found that some areas of our lives are actually improving with more people now in employment, a rise in household and disposable income and fewer people saying that they’re struggling financially.
How to tell if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder
Most people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Common life events such as moving house, important work presentations, or having problems in a relationship can cause it. In time, any feelings of anxiety should pass, but if they don’t, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
The signs can include:
Difficulty sleeping – Many people suffer sleepless nights from time to time, but anxiety disorders can cause difficulty sleeping on a regular basis. If you find yourself lying awake every night worrying about everything that’s going on, speak to your doctor about whether or not it’s anxiety that could be causing this.
Muscle tension – Muscle tension is one of the most common physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. During particularly troubling times, our fight or flight system is activated and this causes our muscles to contract. If your body is constantly in a state of fight or flight, muscle tension will occur and it can cause a lot of pain or discomfort, thus adding to feelings of anxiety.
Restlessness – You may notice that you’re always restless, constantly feel on edge, and/or have trouble sitting still and staying calm. This is because although your fight or flight system has been activated, you’re not fighting or running from anything so all of the adrenalin you should be exerting sits with you and makes you restless.
Digestive problems – It’s thought that our digestive system is very closely linked to our emotions and that stress and anxiety can release hormones which have a huge impact on our stomachs. The results are most commonly indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers and even changes in serotonin levels.
Excessive or irrational fear – Those who suffer from anxiety disorders often have intrusive thoughts which are constantly on their mind. You may always worry that something bad is going to happen, that people don’t like you, that you won’t be able to pay your bills or that you’re going to lose your job. Often these thoughts come from nowhere and can occur even if everything in your life is going perfectly well.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering from anxiety or depression, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available. Alternatively, you can contact us in the strictest of confidence and we will be more than happy to help.