Anxiety is one of the ‘neuroses' and is much more common than depression. It often occurs in early adult life, but may occur for the first time in middle age. It can be related to a genetic susceptibility and prevalence increases to 50% in the identical twin of an affected subject. Anxious patients produce more of the stress chemicals adrenaline and nor -adrenaline. The condition can begin at the time of birth, often when the child is separated from the mother, or it may be triggered by almost any event that makes you fearful. However, there is no doubt that some people have a tendency to develop neurotic symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, based on their inherited predisposition.
Depression affects many of us from time to time, but serious clinical depression is much less common, perhaps only affecting 3 - 5% of the population. The highest incidence is in women aged 35 – 45 years and it increases in men with age. Bipolar affective disorders such as Manic Depression are equally common in men and women although, overall, depression is twice as common in women. It is more common in social classes I, II and V and among the divorced or separated.