Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric illness, yet researchers know very little about factors associated with recovery. A new University of Toronto study investigated three levels of recovery in a large, representative sample of more than 2,000 Canadians with a history of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
The study reports that 72% of Canadians with a history of GAD have been free of the mental health condition for at least one year. Overall, 40% were in a state of excellent mental health, and almost 60% had no other mental illness or addiction issues, such as suicidal thoughts, substance dependence, a major depressive disorder or a bipolar disorder, in the past year,
The definition of excellent mental health sets a very high bar. To be defined in excellent mental health, respondents had to achieve three things: 1) almost daily happiness or life satisfaction in the past month, 2) high levels of social and psychological well-being in the past month, and 3) freedom from generalized anxiety disorder and depressive disorders, suicidal thoughts and substance dependence for at least the preceding full year.