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National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Spotlight
May 21, 2015
4.3 Million Adults Who Are Employed Full Time Had a Past Year Anxiety Disorder

Past year anxiety disorder among adults aged 18 or older, by current employment status: 2008 to 20124

This two-sided bar chart shows the percentages and numbers of adults aged 18 or older with past year anxiety disorder, by current employment status, from 2008 to 2012. From 2008 to 2012, a total of 12.9 million adults aged 18 or older had past year anxiety disorder; of these 4.3 million were employed full time, 1.7 million were employed part time, 1.0 million were unemployed, and 5.9 million were not in the labor force. In terms of percentages, 5.7 percent of adults aged 18 or older had past year anxiety disorder; 3.7 percent of adults employed full time had a past year anxiety disorder, 5.6 percent of adults employed part time had a past year anxiety disorder, 6.9 percent of unemployed adults had a past year anxiety disorder, and 8.9 percent of adults not in the labor force had a past year anxiety disorder.  If you would like someone from our staff to read the numbers on this graph or table image to you, please call 240-276-1250.

Anxiety disorders are characterized by constant and overwhelming worry and fear. Individuals who have anxiety disorders may have significant trouble functioning.1 This can make it hard for them to stay employed. According to the 2008 to 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health’s Mental Health Surveillance Study, an estimated 12.9 million adults aged 18 or older (5.7 percent) had one or more anxiety disorders in the past year.2 This includes 4.3 million people who were employed full time, 1.7 million who were employed part time, 1.0 million who were unemployed, and 5.9 million who were not in the labor force.3 The percentage of adults with anxiety disorders ranged from a high of 8.9 percent among adults not in the labor force to a low of 3.7 percent among adults employed full time. Employment can be a challenge for people with an anxiety disorder. However, about half of those with anxiety disorders are employed. A positive work environment can help them succeed. Resources to help employers create mental health-friendly workplaces are available at
http://www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/publications/business_execs.aspx.

  1. Karg, R. S., Bose, J., Batts, K. R., Forman-Hoffman, V. L., Liao, D., Hirsch, E., Pemberton, M. R., Colpe, L. J., & Hedden, S. L. (2014). CBHSQ Data Review: Past year mental disorders among adults in the United States: Results from the 2008–2012 Mental Health Surveillance Study. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DR-N2MentalDis-2014-1/Web/NSDUH-DR-N2MentalDis-2014.pdf
  2. To meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, anxiety, fear, and/or avoidance must represent a change from typical functioning, and the anxiety-related problems must be accompanied by clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. Anxiety disorders assessed in this study included posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, agoraphobia without history of panic disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  3. NSDUH defines full-time employment as usually working 35 or more hours per week and working in the past week or having a job despite not working in the past week. Part-time employment includes working fewer than 35 hours per week and working in the past week or having a job despite not working in the past week. Unemployed includes not having a job or being on layoff and looking for work and making specific efforts to find work in the past 30 days. The not in the labor force category includes retired persons, disabled persons, homemakers, students, or other persons not in the labor force.
  4. In the graphic, error bars are a visual representation of the variability or uncertainty in the percentages.