Anxiety disorders among adolescents and young adults: Prevalence and mental health care service utilization in a regional epidemiological study in Germany

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Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders. While it is known that a majority of individuals with anxiety disorders remains untreated, actual treatment rates for adolescents and young adults in Germany remain largely unknown.

As part of the Behavior and Mind Health (BeMIND) study, examining a random community sample of 14–21-year-olds (Dresden; Germany; N = 1,180), the lifetime prevalence for DSM-5 anxiety disorders and lifetime service utilization rates were determined by a standardized interview (DIA-X-5/CIDI).

In the present sample, 23.3 % of adolescents and young adults fulfilled DSM-5 criteria for at least one lifetime anxiety disorder. Of those, 39.1 % used any health care services, most frequently they visited an outpatient psychotherapist/psychologist (23.0 %). Individuals with agoraphobia were most likely to use any in- or outpatient specialized service (64.8 %), while individuals with a specific phobia were least likely (22.3 %). Having a comorbid disorder or being female increased the likelihood of seeking help.

The results showed that approximately 2/3 of adolescents and young adults suffering from an anxiety disorder did not seek help and only few report contacts with a psychotherapist. Given the adverse long-term consequences of anxiety disorders, these findings suggest to improve efforts on increasing intervention awareness and treatment possibilities for these individuals.


Original languageEnglish
Article number102453
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

External IDs

Scopus 85110543658
ORCID /0000-0002-9687-5527/work/142235216


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

Sustainable Development Goals


  • Anxiety disorders, Service utilization, Help seeking, Adolescents, Young adults, DSM-5