Let’s Talk About Mental Health: Anxiety

Let's Talk Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal and expected part of life. You may have felt anxious prior to a big exam or presentation, before making big decisions, or when faced with a difficult problem at work. Anxiety disorders occur when people have frequent, intense, worrying thoughts and physical reactions about everyday situations.

picture with a hand holding a black marker and text written out stating anxiety

Anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental illness in the United States, impacting about 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18.1% of the population each year. Feeling anxiety is a normal part of life – but anxiety disorders are when that feeling of anxiety is no longer temporary and it impacts a person’s daily activities like their job performance, school work, personal health, routines, and relationships.

There are many types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various phobia-related disorders. Generalized anxiety (GAD) is the most common and affects about 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the population in the U.S. It is common for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression, or vice-versa. Women are twice as likely to be affected by GAD as compared to men.

The signs and symptoms vary by disorder. The most common anxiety symptoms include feeling restless or nervous, breathing rapidly, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, gastrointestinal (GI) problems, difficulty controlling feelings of worry, avoiding anxiety triggers, and sleep problems.

With the uncertainty of today’s world and having so many adjustments over the last year, spreading awareness of treatment options and how to access help is important. Only about 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety disorders receive treatment. Anxiety disorders are usually treated with psychotherapy or “talk therapy,” medication or both. There are many lifestyle and coping mechanisms that can help keep anxiety under control, including staying physically active, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs, quitting smoking, cutting back on caffeine intake, adopting stress management and relaxation techniques, joining a support group, focusing on sleep, and incorporating healthy eating habits.

GatorCare members have access to free and confidential online mental health counseling and psychiatry services. Explore your other mental health benefits or find an in-person mental health provider utilizing our Mental Health Services landing page.

If you are not covered by the GatorCare health plan, contact your health insurance provider using the phone number on the back of your insurance card to find a covered provider near you.

If you have additional questions about anxiety, feel free to explore the resources below, or any you can find on your own.

Next week, we will discuss mental health for diverse populations. Thanks for joining us for Let’s Talk Mental Health!

Mental Health Resources

Gatorcare member program

Mental Health Care

GatorCare members have access to addiction, counseling, and psychiatry services through their behavioral health benefit. View our network directory to find a provider that works for you.

Gatorcare member program


GatorCare members ages 18+ are eligible to receive free and confidential online counseling and psychiatry services through Talkspace.

Wellness Resource

Crisis Support

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek support. There are crisis phone lines and online chats available to view. Alternatively, contact 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

Community Resource

Find a Community Resource

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Gainesville chapter hosts support groups, presentations, and courses for individuals living with mental illness and their families. View the 2021 schedule for upcoming groups and classes.

wellness resource

Learn More

Learn more about anxiety—signs and symptoms, risk factors, and treatment approaches—through the National Institute of Mental Health. Find resources or even join a research study.