In the months following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, anxiety is on the rise over other mental-health conditions, overtaking depression as the No. 1 mental-health concern Canadians are seeking treatment for, according to a new analysis by MindBeacon Group.

The organization’s clinical team, led by Dr. Peter Farvolden, its chief science officer, took a deep dive into the myriad mental-health issues currently affecting its users. In the five-month period since the crisis began, cases of Canadians struggling with generalized anxiety disorder have ballooned from 34 per cent to 46 per cent as the leading concern.

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The analysis also found a 10-point jump of users with generalized anxiety disorder experiencing severe symptoms, from 32 per cent to 42 per cent in the past five months.

The significant rise in anxiety, according to Dr. Farvolden, is to be expected with a population under conditions of massive change and uncertainty. Based on the analysis, he said, one prime concern is that, with the risk of such a prolonged duration of stress, exhaustion and burnout will set in.

“This type of mental exhaustion will likely lead to the rise of other stress-related disorders beyond anxiety. These may include depression, [post-traumatic stress disorder], drug and alcohol abuse, among others. We may be seeing anxiety rearing its head right now; however, in the months ahead, there will be a real risk of many additional mental-health concerns that are directly related to that.”

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