More than eight million men, women and children in Britain are now suffering from an anxiety disorder, a new study has found.
The research, by leading psychiatrists at Cambridge University, claims that anxiety-related mental health disorders are costing the UK £9.8 billion in treatments and lost productivity because of sick days and early retirement as a result.
Researcher Barbara Sahakian suggests that problems such as depression and anxiety, including fears such as agoraphobia, may be exacerbated by modern-day stresses, with debt and money worries also making matters worse.
"Mental health disorders tend to increase in urban environments," she told the Daily Mail. "Partly due to the stress of urbanisation and the competitiveness. Debt is something that causes an increase in mental health disorders."
The 2010 figures come from a study of the cost to the country of a number of brain disorders. Dementia is currently the most costly, with almost £20 billion a year spent in treatment, while 'psychotic disorders' such as schizophrenia are second in the health service spending ranks.
According to the report, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, depression, bipolar disorder and similar conditions were the third most expensive at £17 billion, and alcoholism and depression gave rise to an annual spend of £9.832 billion.
Anxiety disorders were only slightly behind in fifth place.
What do you think? Is modern-day life to blame for the increase in anxiety disorders and stress amongst Brits? Leave your comments below...