In this post, we’ve compiled NAMI’s depression and anxiety statistics along with insights about what’s causing anxiety and depression in Americans.
In the field of psychology, data collection isn't perfect. Here are a few things to keep in mind about mental health data.
- We don't have access to all of the information regarding the target demographics of this data sample, so it's hard to know if it's truly representative of the whole population. NAMI is a highly reputable organization, but we cannot verify if the data is representative of the US population.
- Stigma and a lack of education about mental health could cause people to underreport (or incorrectly report) symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Mental health symptoms can come and go, so people who reported no symptoms at the time of data collection may still develop symptoms at a later time.
With that out of the way, let's get to the depression and anxiety statistics!
Rates of depression and anxiety by state in 2021
Here's an interactive, heat-style map displaying rates of depression and anxiety across the United States.
Here's a table listing out the rates of depression and anxiety by state.
Insights on 2021 depression and anxiety statistics
- The average rate of anxiety and depression in the United States was 40%.
- Oklahoma, Louisiana, Washington, California, and North Carolina had the highest rates of anxiety and depression, ranging from 45% to 48%.
- North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Nebraska, and Montana had the lowest rates of anxiety and depression, ranging from 28% to 35%.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression is a unique experience, but common symptoms include the following.
Symptoms of anxiety
There are many anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. The most common of these anxiety disorders is generalized anxiety disorder.
Along with excessive worry (and a difficulty in controlling that excessive worry), to be officially diagnosed with generalized anxiety, at least three of these symptoms must be present for six or more months.
- Restlessness and feeling “on edge”
- Difficulty in concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Disturbances in sleep
Additionally, the anxiety must result in “significant distress or impairment in social and occupational areas,” and it cannot be caused by something physical.
Symptoms of depression
Like with anxiety, there are multiple diagnosable depression disorders.
To receive an official diagnosis of major depressive disorder, individuals typically experience a prolonged period of low mood and must exhibit at least five of the following symptoms.
- Depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities for most of the day, nearly every day
- Significant changes in appetite or weight
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or oversleeping
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation (restlessness or slowed movements)
- Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts
These symptoms must be present for two weeks or more.
What’s causing anxiety and depression in Americans?
There are several common causes of depression and anxiety.
- Biological factors: Imbalances in brain chemistry, genetics, and family history can play a significant role. Individuals with a family history of anxiety or depression may be at higher risk.
- Stress: High levels of chronic stress due to work, family, relationships, or other life events can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Trauma: Exposure to traumatic events, such as abuse, violence, accidents, or natural disasters, can lead to the development of these conditions.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic illness, chronic pain, or hormonal imbalances, can contribute to or worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Substance abuse: The misuse of alcohol or drugs can lead to or exacerbate both anxiety and depression.
- Personality factors: Some personality traits, like perfectionism or low self-esteem, can make individuals more susceptible to anxiety and depression.
- Environmental factors: Living in a challenging or unsupportive environment, experiencing discrimination, or facing financial difficulties can increase the risk.
- Loss and grief: Experiencing a significant loss, like the death of a loved one or a breakup, can trigger episodes of depression.
- Lack of social support: Isolation and a lack of strong social connections can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause, can affect mood and contribute to these conditions.
- Childhood experiences: Adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect, can have a lasting impact on mental health.
Stress is a significant cause of depression and anxiety.
According to the American Psychological Association, the following are a few of the top five factors contributing to Americans’ stress.
- The future of our nation
- Money (70% of Americans are stressed about money and inflation is playing a role)
- Work (we work much more than Europeans)
- The political climate (no matter what your political party is)
- Violence and crime, which include things like hate crimes, gun violence, conflict with other countries, and more
Although longitudinal clinical studies are needed, we suspect that a few other things are contributing to increased rates of anxiety and depression in America.
Get help for anxiety and depression
Although many Americans are anxious and depressed, the good news is that anxiety and depression are highly treatable. With a combination of lifestyle improvements, medication, and therapy, you can start feeling better.
Want to start therapy? Start consulting with therapists vetted by Best Therapists.