The Prevalence of Anxiety Among Students: Statistics and Insights

By Adil Sethi, Content Team academic

Stress and anxiety have become very common among students, which unfortunately influences academic, affective, and interpersonal life. As students experience higher demands in school, social life, and their future careers, students need to recognize and control anxiety to do well in school and life. Stress and anxiety refer to the feelings that one gets when he or she feels pressured and or worried and may include factors such as a more than normal heart rate. The problem is that FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out, and the presence of fear impact the lives of individuals including students. This piece will explore the impact of stress and anxiety disorders focusing on the students, then types of anxiety disorders, causes and signs of it and at last this piece will shed light on treatment options and effective strategies to manage stress and anxiety.

Impact of Stress and Anxiety

Work and academic stress can affect life through sleep loss, inattention, and poor decisions. Anxiety disorders bring about physical sicknesses such as hypertension and a weakened immune system. Hypertension and chronic stress can cause abusive behavior or unresponsiveness to people’s needs, poor performance at work and school, and even poor general health.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Students who suffer from GAD are preoccupied with daily issues such as tests, courtship, and occupation, among others. These can translate to problems focusing, sleeping problems, and other somatic complaints, including headaches and muscle tension.

Panic Disorder: This is manifested in brief but clearly imposed and intense forms of fear, which include panic attacks. These can be disabling; for instance, a student may be having heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness that can make the student miss or drop out of classes and or isolate oneself from society.

Social Anxiety Disorder: It relates to an individual’s extreme fear of being evaluated or of being laughed at in front of his or her peers in situations like presenting an idea in a class or a meeting. Such outcomes include isolation from other people, thus affecting academic performance and social life.

Specific Phobias: These are serious, senseless phobias of specific objects, situations, or events, such as speaking in public, being high up, or being around animals, that can restrict a student’s practice and engagement.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Children with OCD can be preoccupied with certain thoughts or images they cannot get out of their head; they may do rituals in an attempt to ward off their worst fears and spend lots of time; usually a lot of the day doing these obsessions and compulsions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Sometimes students suffer from traumatic events, so there are flashbacks, severe anxiety, and avoiding places and situations associated with traumatic events.

Causes and Signs of Stress and Anxiety

Genetic predisposition: One may have anxiety if they have had previous family members diagnosed with anxiety.

Stressful life events: Stress coming from academic work, monetary worries, and social stressors are some of the causes and signs of stress and anxiety.

Personality traits: Students who are perfectionists or highly sensitive tend to be more anxious than others due to certain inherited features.

Health conditions: One can get anxiety as a result of chronic diseases or hormonal disorders or when an existing anxiety is aggravated.

Statistics on Student Health Anxiety

  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 31.9% of adolescents aged 13-18 have experienced an anxiety disorder, with a higher prevalence in females (38.0%) compared to males (26.1%)​.
  • Another APA study showed that over 60 % of college students present the features of at least one mental health disorder, including anxiety.
  • Research indicates that 36.5% of US college students acknowledge stress as a major cause of poor performance among students being excluded. 29.5% of respondents pointed out anxiety as a factor that has influenced their response to the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Physical: Palpitation, sweating, headache, gastrointestinal upsets and tiredness are some symptoms of anxiety.

Emotional: Abnormal and excessive thoughts of danger, fearfulness, irritability, and portentousness.

Behavioral: Missed class, avoid situations that make them anxious and restless, and they find it hard to concentrate on their studies.

Impact on Student Life

Anxiety disorders can greatly affect students by creating poor academic performance and absenteeism while affecting interpersonal relationships and personal health, compromising aspects such as insomnia and digestive system problems. It might also prevent other social and extra-curricular activities, thus adopting an isolated lifestyle with a low quality of life.

Treatment and Management of Student Health Anxiety

Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in the management of anxiety as the major goal is to help the students alter the way they think. Another treatment type is called exposure therapy, and this is the kind of CBT that allows a student to be exposed to fears and reduce them without any problem.

Medication: Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety tablets can be taken to prevent the symptoms from showing up, but only under the doctor’s recommendation.

Lifestyle Changes: Moderate exercise, adhering to correct nutrition, obtaining enough sleep, and relaxation procedures such as meditation and yoga lower the level of anxiety significantly.

Support Systems: Discussing with peers or kin or joining a group of similar people can help one gain emotional support and advice.

Self-Help Strategies For Anxiety Disorders

Mindfulness and Meditation: Angelic activities that include ways of comforting and reducing stress levels.

Time Management: With the help of correct scheduling and planning, one can cope with academic requirements and have feasible goals.

Healthy Lifestyle: Practicing healthy eating, exercising, and making sure they get enough rest.

Avoiding Stimulants: It has also been discovered that avoidance of caffeine as well as alcohol can assist in controlling anxiety.

Effective Strategies for Students to Reduce Anxiety Symptoms

  1. Mindfulness and meditation can assist in bringing the mind to be more reasonable, overcoming the worried state. Headspace and Calm are two examples of apps that have special sections dedicated to students.
  2. Today, exercise in the form of jogging, yoga, or even a brisk walk can reduce stress levels by up to thirty percent due to the production of endorphins.
  3. Dieting and sufficient intake of water have positive effects on stressful conditions, and being energetic would help to face stressors.

Another valuable competency is time management; using a planner or an app to allocate tasks and set due dates helps avoid bringing tasks to the last minute and stress connected with it. Moreover, it is also important to sleep enough since a fresh mind copes with stress more effectively. Finally, people may turn to their friends, family, or counselors for support, which can help to alleviate unpleasant emotions and give suggestions. Thus, the specified habits should be taken in order to build a healthier life that would be free from stress.


Anxiety is not a terminal illness but can be treated effectively with the use of therapy and changes in one’s lifestyle. If a student and or his close ones are struggling with anxiety, they can call the No Panic helpline on 0300 7729844, discuss the problem, and receive needed assistance. The helpline is open every day between 10am and 10pm. There are more helpful resources on our website.

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