According to 2015 statistics from the CDC, 3.6% of the global population has a generalized anxiety disorder.
“Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. They may worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.” (1)
Surprisingly, generalized anxiety diagnoses have been increasing in the West, even though western countries are categorized as first-world.
A common misconception is that countries with lower socioeconomic statuses would have higher anxiety rates, however a large study published in the JAMA Psychiatry found that “The disorder is especially common and impairing in high-income countries despite a negative association between GAD and socioeconomic status within countries.” (2)
While there is no direct understanding (only speculations) as to why the West has increasing anxiety rates, an uptick in studies analyzing the harmful effects of a Western diet may have something to prove.