One in five of us experience anxiety in our day to day lives, according to a report carried out by the Mental Health Foundation.
The report was released to promote Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until 18th May, and found that finance, money and debt were the three most common sources of anxiety.
The Mental Health Foundation used the opinions of over 2,000 members of the public to inform the report and has drawn a direct correlation between unemployment, financial distress and anxiety, arguing that the recession has created an ‘age of anxiety’.
Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the UK and it is increasing: yet it remains under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated.
“As individuals and as a society we need to be more anxiety aware. If we truly recognised the cost anxiety has on society, as well as the mounting distress it causes to individuals, communities and employers, we would act now”.
It was suggested that experiencing anxiety created further health problems with one in four sufferers coping with anxious feelings by comfort eating.
With one in four people experiencing anxiety about work, the Mental Health Foundation called on the Department of Work and Pensions in the report to develop strategies to prevent the unemployed from becoming further marginalised from the world of work.
Anxiety comes in a range of forms including panic attacks, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Phobia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
The report distinguished between fear, which provokes an immediate response such as fight or flight, and anxiety which was defined as a lingering apprehension.