How common is GAD and who experiences it?
Every year in Australia, approximately 14 per cent of the population (1 in 7) experience an anxiety condition and it is estimated that just under 3 per cent experience GAD. Nearly 6 per cent of the population will experience GAD in their lifetime.
The condition tends to affect more women than men. It can occur at any time in life and is common in all age groups, including children and older people, although on average it starts around 30 years of age.
Children with GAD typically worry about issues related to performance at school or sporting events, punctuality, natural disasters or war. Behaviour that sometimes accompany GAD in children includes:
- being over-conforming
- being a perfectionist
- being unsure of oneself
- needing to re-do tasks
- seeking regular and frequent approval and assurance from parents, teachers, siblings or friends
- asking ‘Yes but, what if…?’
Many people with GAD are not able to identify the precise onset of their concerns but are aware that having a tendency to worry has existed for a long time, often describing themselves as having always been ‘a worrier’.